IRISH GOLF TIMELINE - 1910

In the news

On 3 June 1910 Mr Asquith, the Prime Minister and Mr Reginald McKenna, the first lord of the Admirality played a foursomes match around Royal Portrush. They arrived on the Admirality boat the Enchantress, which docked at Portrush.

Many of the clubs in Dublin (Rathfarnham, Royal Dublin) cancelled their normal competitions as a result of the death of King Edward VII. King George signified his pleasure with the Curragh Golf Club becoming the Royal Curragh Golf Club as reported in the Irish Times on the 29 September 1910.

Hewson recounts the story of a field of corn which was cut adjacent to a golf course and 100 balls were found the farmer was at liberty to sell the balls with the exception of those which had the owners name - selling those would result in the farmer being liable to prosecution although from a practical standpoint it might have been quite difficult to do.

Golf is: "a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you may exhaust yourself but never the subject. It is a contest, a duel, a melee, calling for courage, skill, strategy and self-control. It is a test of temper, a trial of honour, a revealer of character. It affords the chance to play the man and act the gentleman.".........and so say all of us.

Harry Ferguson had accomplished the feat of being the first person to achieve powered flight in Ireland on the 31 December 1909 when at Hillsborough, Co. Down he remained airborne for a distance of more than 100 yards. He repeated the feat in Newcastle in his monoplane completing the flight "of almost three miles along the foreshore at a low altitude varying between fifty and five hundred feet" in an attempt to win a £100 prize offered by the town for the first powered flight along the strand. While no strictly golf related he must have had one of the first aerial views of the famous Newcastle links.

The House of Commons gave its deliberation on Sunday play when a railway company to over the RPGC saying it was up to the Portrush Urban District Council to decide if Sunday play should be allowed. Another victory for the Sabbatharians!

Publications

In 1910 Bernard Darwin's classic golf book - The Golf Courses of the British Isles was published and included paintings (48 colour and 26 sepia illustrations) by Harry Rountree - cost 21s. The mis-spelling of Rountree's name on the cover of the book was blamed on a sub-consious link with Rowntree's Chocolates - it wasn't the first instance of this erratum. Despite his legal training Darwin took a position as journalist for the Evening Standard in 1907, his first article described Lord Dunraven's private course near the town of Adare in Limerick. From here Darwin joined the London Times and wrote for Country Life one of the premier magazines in circulation at the time. Darwin was the grandson of the famed naturalist and evolutionist Charles Darwin. Harry Rountree, a New Zealander, illustrated the book and sixteen pages were set aside for the courses in Ireland including Dollymount, Portmarnock, Lahinch, Portrush and Newcastle. The most striking watercolour is entitled: 'Coming Home' depicting golfers taking the horse and carriage ("vis-à-vis" or side-car) crossing from the Portmarnock Golf Club to Baldoyle. It was Darwin's first book in a publishing frenzy that produced over thirty titles and further fifty-or-so golf club handbooks.

Late March saw the publication of The Irish Golfers' Guide at a cost of one shilling and edited by Lionel Hewson. The use of "freak" clubs (e.g. croquet mallet putters, socketless mashie (C.O. Hezlet)) was a topical issue again and the Irish Golfers Guide sought the opinion of the more accomplished players on the subject when producing its Who's Who.

 

Course design and development

W.C. Pickeman designed a golf course at Bagnalstown, County Carlow. The Athgarvan (Curragh) Club (nine holes) was founded. Dun Laoghaire opened it clubhouse doors with Thompson the professional procured by the club with a little assistance from Harry Vardon.

Thomas Hood opened his shop in 73 Middle Abbey Street. Marley Grange was secured for the purpose of opening a new golf course within a short distance of the Rathfarnham tram and Thomas Hood had provided a favourable report as to its suitability as a golf course. The new course would be the Grange Golf Club and although it size was sufficient for an eighteen-hole lay out they proposed to have a nine-hole course to start with. Both Thomas Hood and J.J. Mckenna provided favourable reports on the suitability of the land for the Howth Golf Club. These plans for a golf course at Howth may have eventually fallen through by the end of 1910. Mr Cecil Bancroft was commissioned to lay out the second eighteen-holes at the Kingstown Golf Club.

New clubs that raised their head during the year were Ballina, Edenderry, Carrick-on-Shannon, Howth, Robin Hood (later Newlands), Castlebar. Omagh and Marley Grange. The Malahide professional C.H. Wilkinson laid out the Ballina Golf Course.

Killarney became an eighteen-hole track the sub-soil is so sandy that it has many attributes of a seaside course while still remaining an inland course. Willie Park visited to make improvements to Killarney and took in Tramore en-route.

Equipment and Invention

Hewson looked back over the previous ten years and asked if golf benefited from the advancements to which his answer was a resounding no. The additional expense incurred from the rubber-cored ball couldn't offset the truer strike as golf clubs were lengthened without any discernible difference in the challenge there posed to the ordinary golfer. One editorial suggested a system for 'Registration and Identification of Golf Balls', which would include a golf club and member reference and name and presumably a method of returning the golf ball to its original owner once lost.

Another golf ball hit the market, the MANOR, which was relatively inexpensive (1s 6d) and considered second only to the Orange Spot golf ball. The price of rubber had sent 2s golf balls to a half a crown (two schillings and six pence).

In 1910 Arthur F. Knight's (the inventor Schenectady putter) of the patented a hollow steel construction for shafts, despite there being previous patents for steel shafts, this is considered the patent which began a revolution for this new shaft. However it would be 1925 and 1929 before the USGA and the Royal & Ancient respectively legalised their use.

Rules

The Royal and Ancient Rules committee banned the mallet-headed (the head not on one side of the shaft) putter including the infamous and controversial Schenectady putter used by Walter Travis to such good effect in the 1904 Amateur Championship. The special correspondent for the Irish Times was one golfer who breathed a sigh of relief on hearing the news of this rule change. The Americans were none to pleased at the barring of their beloved Schenectady putters and refused to adopt the new ruling resulting in a schism in the rules between the USGA and the Royal & Ancient - it would be a further forty-two years before the rules converged again.

Championships

Ladies' Home Internationals Westward Ho!

On 30 April Scotland won the Miller Shield, at Westward Ho, for the third time in succession since Ireland's victory in 1907.

Ladies Championship 3-6 May - Westward Ho!

Gladys Ravensroft won the curtain raiser, the strokeplay championship held on the 2 May with a round of eighty-four strokes. The first notable scalps were Maud Titterton when she was beaten by Miss Mabel Harrisson playing out of RPGC and Cecil Leitch. Miss Ravenscroft destroyed the Irish Champion, Miss Ormsby, by 7 and 6 in the third round. Harrison and Violet Hezlet were the only Irish players to make it through to the fourth round but both went out in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively. The eventual winner was Miss E. Grant Suttle, the Sunningdale player.

The Amateur Championship 30 May - 3 June Royal Liverpool Club - Hoylake [160 entrants]

H.M. Cairnes caused a huge upset by taken the reigning (and 1903) champion, Robert Maxwell, out of the picture by 2 and 1 unfortunately this only set up a match with the redoubtable John Ball playing at his home club…there was only ever going to be one result, despite Maxwell's victory over Ball in the international match played before the Championship, 5&4 was the final margin of victory. The was only a very small cohort of Irish players represented and with Lord Annesley and Cairnes out in the second round and A. V. Macan, the Malahide player, out the third (albeit by only one-hole to James Laidlay) all hopes rested with Lionel Munn but he eventually succumbed to F.C Carr, the Handsworth player, in the fourth round by one hole. 'Johnnie' Ball went on to win his seventh amateur championship (winning eight in all), to date, this represents three more than his nearest rival, Sir Michael Bonnallack

Hopes of one of the Irish clubs staging the Amateur Championship in 1912 seem a real possibility.

Irish Ladies Championship 7-9 June - Newcastle

The scratch competition before the event saw Miss Ormsby and Ms G. Lauder shoot 91 and a play-off would be held later in the week to determine the winner. Mabel Harrison beat last year's champion, Miss Ormsby, and favourite in the fourth round by 1up. The final was referreed by Lord Annesley and Miss Harrison wouldn't be denied notching up a 4 and 3 victory against Miss Magill.

Exhibition matches

6 June: The final of Moran vs Cahill duel over 72 holes (Skerries/Dollymount) ended in victory for Moran by 17 and 15.

June 8-9 Rosapenna Golf Club

Lord Leitrim was trying to organise a professional tournament at Rosapenna between Tom Ball and Duncan vs Vardon and Herd to be played June 8-9 (Day 1 - 36-hole singles and Day 2 - 36-hole fourball). Herd may have replaced Braid in this event probably because of his dislike of travelling by sea even a four-hour journey between Hollyhead and Kingstown filled him with dread.

On the Thursday Vardon was pitted against Duncan and the largest crowd followed this match against the King and a young pretender to the throne. Vardon covered the first nine in 39 strokes two shots less than his opponent. They match each other in the inward nine but Duncan's card was somewhat ruined by a seven on the sixteenth. Herd shot lower than Ball (80 vs 81). In the afternoon Vardon was out of sorts and while Duncan was playing majestically albeit his putting was haphazard. The final scores over the thirty-six holes read: Herd 155; Duncan 155; Vardon 157 and Ball 158.

Tom Ball and Duncan won the fourball on Friday by 1up keeping a fight back from the Vardon/Herd at bay having been 4up by the turn in the afternoon. A large contingent including the Scottish and Irish press stayed at the Rosapenna hotel after which discussions with these great players showed Ball disenchanted with the way golf was becoming a study and Vardon declaring that he wouldn't pass a strict examination of the rules of the game.

An eagerly awaited match 11-13 October between Harold Hilton and Cecil Leitch took place a Walton Heath where Hilton had given up a half a stroke a hole and three thousand people were there to witness the proceedings. Cecil Leitch eventually won the match by 2up.


The Irish Professional Championship 9-10 June 1910 - Royal Dublin Golf Club (Dollymount)

Heavy rain on the course had taken its toll on the greens, which were heavy and sluggish as the professionals started play in the fourth championship and the putting reflected this in the morning round. However, the local professional, Michael Moran, took the course record in the afternoon round with a 72.

Out 5,5,4,6,4,3,2,3,4=36 In: 3,4,4,3,4,5,4,5,4=36 Total 72

Moran's total of 150 gave him a seven shot lead at the halfway stage over James Edmundson.

The next day Moran played the Dollymount course in 70 strokes and another course record and the championship was his. His four round total was 296 (78,72,70,76) ten shots ahead of his nearest challenger Martin Cahill (Skerries) 306 (82,77,74,73) with James Edmundson, in third place, a further thirteen strokes behind Cahill 319 (78,79,81,81) and tied with H. Hamill.

In the Amateurs vs Professionals match which following Moran pipped Lionel Munn by a single stroke. With fourteen players on either side the Professionals won out by 12 and 9 playing singles and foursomes matches.


Irish Close Championship 14 -17 June - Royal Dublin Golf Club (Dollymount)

The 19th Amateur close championship (44 entries) got off with twelve first round matches the most notable of which was Cairnes and Macan, the former winning out with a 5 and 3 victory. Another casualty of this early round was Captain Boyd. Munn was in fine form on the second day's play shooting level fours for the holes played with victories of 9 and 8 (Orr - Stillorgan Park) and 8 and 7 (Elvery - Dublin University).

In the semi-final Jameson beat E.B. Maxwell (Portmarnock), a cousin of Robert Maxwell now stationed at the Curragh, by 5 and 4. Munn had an altogether more difficult time of it only securing victory against Captain J.P. Curran by 1 hole.

Surprisingly J.F. Jameson won the final by 2 and 1. Jameson had the better of the first round shooting 76 one better than his opponent. The second round saw Munn further adrift with a 79 which was four shots off the eventual winner. Jameson is slight in stature but his timing is such that it allows him keep up with even the longest of hitters - during the winter he would practice much of his golf in France. The quality of his game was attributed to the coaching of John McKenna, the Malahide professional, who was now based in Germany.

Hewson was a little aggrieved at the Northern golfer who put his handicap down as 2 (when he had a much longer handicap) and playing Portrush in 74 strokes as a joke for inclusion in the Irish Golfer's Guide Who's Who - he wasn't amused.

The Open Championship 21-24 June 1910 St. Andrews Golf Club

The first day of the Jubilee championship was cancelled in the early afternoon due to thunderstorms a first for the event. Despite George Duncan's course record 73 in the first round Moran found himself well placed on 77 in joint ninth place. Another good round of 75 left him within striking distance but finished with 79,81 and a 312 total and in joint 14th place thirteen shots behind the eventual winner James Braid. No other Irish player figured in the Open Championship this year.

The new motorboat built by Messrs Reid of Portstewart and fitted with an engine from Messrs Hayward of Belfast at Portmarnock gets it first try out.

Irish Open Professional Championship 6-9 July 1910 Portmarnock Golf Club

A professional tournament has been arranged at Portmarnock between 6-9 July 1910, the format consists of a thirty-six-hole strokeplay qualifier with the best 32 players moving on to the matchplay stages each over 18 holes with a thirty-six hole final. It was eleven years since a professional tournament was last held at Portmarnock and the minimum prize-money of 250pds would certainly attract a big field. First and second prize were £50,£30. It was hoped that the Great Northern would put more carriages than usual on their trains to Howth while the championship was being played. Messrs Harrison & Co. erected marquees to provide refreshments for visitors and the club motorboat and launch were free to all visitors. A telegraph office was set up.

Over 1,500 spectators watched the closing stages of the match. The only hiccup was with the catering on the Wednesday when the petrol (petrol joints came loose) in the motor launch failed and delayed catering staff by up to two hours and left them unable to cope with the number of spectators. Ted Ray rowed the boat in heavy winds on the Wednesday morning while the motor launch was out of action.

Ted Ray won the thirty-six-hole qualifier but was knocked out in the matchplay stage by Michael Moran. Moran only just scrapped through the qualifiers seemly more concerned with perfecting his swing in the company of Harry Vardon than the actual score. Once through Moran had a close match with Sydney Ball, the Wrexham player, only winning by one hole and achieved a similar margin against Ted Ray. George Duncan from Hanger Hill eventually defeated Moran by 2 and 1 in the quarter-finals. James George Sherlock, the Stoke Poges professional, won the championship by 2 and 1 over Harry Vardon, the victory was very much attributed the Sherlock ability on the putting surface with 7-8 putts in the 4-15yards all making the hole. Sherlock won 50pds and a golf medal and Vardon 30pds and a silver medal, Mayo and Duncan took away 20pds each - the prizes presented by Mrs Jameson.

It was very much considered "Sherlock's Year" despite a poor showing in the Open Championship he managed many of the other main events that year including the News of the World Matchplay played at his home club where he beat George Duncan. Sherlock (picture below) was not up to this consider a tier-one player but was a reknown putter despite the mashie being the favourite club in his bag.

 

Irish Open Amateur Championship 30 August - 2 September Portrush Golf Club

Of the 160 entries only forty were Irish in the nineteenth championship, the course at 6.600 yards is considered one of longest courses in existence. The competitors faced a two-hour journey from Belfast to Portrush albeit in reasonable comfort given the dining facilities available to them. In the strokeplay competition preceding the matchplay championship Lionel Munn's 77 (plus 4) secured him victory ahead of Anthony Babington (scr.) who carded a 79. Many of the Irish players exited in the second and third rounds and conditions weren't conjusive to low scoring.

By the fifth round of the Championship proper only three Irish players remained A. Jeffcott (Portmarnock), A.K. Sparrow (RPGC) and Lionel Munn (North West). Ernest Carter another RPGC player went out in the fourth round to Major H.L. Fleming of Edinburgh Burgess by 5 and 3. By the end of the fifth only two remained Munn and Sparrow recorded 8&6 and 5&4 victories respectively. The sixth round saw Sparrow defeated by the Yorkshire Champion L. Butler Smith (Wakefield) but Munn continued in devastating form with a 5&4 victory followed by a 3&2 victory over George Wilkie (Leven Thistle) in the semi-finals. Munn now faced Gordon Lockhart the Prestwick player in the final with an estimated 1,500 spectators watching the proceedings. Munn (38, 35) had already an unassailable lead against Lockhart (43,40) by the end of the first round when he went in 8up, the match finally ended up 9&7 in Munn's favour allowing him to secure his second victory in the Championship.

South of Ireland Championship 6 - 9 September Lahinch Golf Club

Dr. G.R. Girdlestone (Oswestry Club - Shropshire) beat S.H. Fry (Felixstowe) in the 36-hole final by 4 and 2 both were also members of the host club, Fry had entered the previous weeks Amateur Championship as a Lahinch player. Girdlestone beat Jameson (who might have been favourite at this stage), the Irish close champion in the semi-finals by 1up with Fry beating R. de Rose (Lahinch) by 5 and 3.

Interclub Championships

Seventeen clubs entered the Barton Cup, which was won by Milltown. Dublin University and Helen's Bay took the honours in the Senior and Junior Cups respectively.

Continental European Championships

1910 saw Peter Gannon's success in the Italian (Florence) and Swiss (La Boulie) Open Amateur Championships.


US Championships

US Amateur Championship

William C. Fownes Jr. at the Country Club (MA)

US Women's Amateur Championship

Dorothy Campbell (Scotland) at Homewood Country Club. Campbell beat Nonna Barlow by 4 and 3 in the quarter-finals.

US Open Championship

Alex Smith (Scotland) at Philadelphia Cricket Club, St. Martin's Course

 

Sources:

The Irish Golfers' Guide: Lionel Hewson (edited)

Royal and Ancient Championship Records 1860-1980

The Shell International Encylopedia of Golf: Donald Steele and Peter Ryde

 

 

 

 

© Irish Golf Archive