Journalist who covered the Northern golf scene for decades dies at 79

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

David Birtill, one of the best-known golf correspondents in the North, has died after a lengthy illness at the age of 79.

Leyland-born Birtill started at the Chorley Guardian - where his father had also worked as managing editor - before joining the Lancashire Telegraph in the mid-60s.

He moved to the Wigan Evening Post and Chronicle before working in Manchester for a number of nationals, including the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror, when the papers' Northern editions were produced in the city.

He joined the Manchester Evening News' sports desk in 1999 and after retirement in 2006, he continued to supply copy for titles includig English Club Golfer. He was also press officer of the PGA North Region for over 30 years.

The Golf Foundation described Birtill as "a leading authority on golf in the NW of England" and "always a champion of the junior scene".

The PGA North tweeted: "A one of a kind character he will be sorely missed by all those who had the pleasure of spending time with him."

Golf writer Alistair Tait added: "Dave knew his beat, everyone in his beat, players and officials alike, and he covered it brilliantly.

"He was a diamond of a guy the like of which, sadly, we'll probably never see again."