TIMELINE - 1911
The 1911 edition
of the Irish Golfers Guide recorded the number of golfers in Ireland
was Men (16,095) and Women (7,245), a total of 23,340 (2009: c.
260,000). The big stories for the year were the return of Harry
Vardon to the winning enclosure at the Open Championship after
an absence of eight years. the formation of the Irish Professional
Golfers' Association <click
here> and Munn treble in the Irish Amateur Championship.
For historians and genealogists the story of the year was the
completion of the 1911 Census which would less than one hundred
years later be put on-line <click
here> together with the 1901 Census providing a snapshot
of who the professional golfers, caddies and greenkeepers etc
were in Ireland at a specific point in time.
Mr A. J. Orr, the man who first
put forward the argument that golf actually originated in Ireland
but also the suggestion that stymie originates from the Irish
word "stuaim" meaning skill or from the saying: Ta on
fear eile taobh a stiogh dhiom" meaning the one man has got
the upper hand of another.
At caddies strike at Portmarnock
had been averted by beginning of April. The whole question that
young people at school leaving age should be taking on the occupation
of caddies rather than taking up a trade was brought up in the
House of Commons and it was Mr Churchhill who responded: "The
occupation of a golf caddie is peculiarly unsuited to young persons
and peculiarly suited for adult persons not suited to active labour
or partially incapacitated for some cause." and goes
on to suggest the clubs should employ the services of the labour
exchanges when taking on caddies which should help with the situation.
Later in the year the Middleton caddies went on strike for the
rate of three pence was felt too low for nine holes and they were
holding out for four pence and halfpenny before they would lift
another bag. A similar situation had occurred in Bray.
Tales were offen told to the Golf
Correspondent of the Irish Times (Hewson) of nursing handicaps
and he felt, in an incredibly prescient statement, that it's unlikely
we'll ever get rid of "roping", as it was called at
the time, in golf . By October Pat
Doyle was listed as a dis-engaged professional and was now
seeking work, the following year he would head to Cork with the
intention of boarding the Titanic.
Ireland is a poor country judge
from a mercenary standpoint. This is the only reason I can find
for the ridiculously low price (1s) for The Irish Golfers Guide.
The World of Golf
H.B. Wood book Golfing Curios
and the like appeared on the shelf. A .D. La Touche writes
an article for the Irish Field 'The Growing Slackness in Golf".
May Hezlet was still writing for Fry's Magazine.
is turned into an eighteen-hole layout. Record of a private course
owned by Lord Barrymore at Fota between Little Island and Rushbrooke.
The Earl of Courtown officially opened the links at Gorey on 25
February 1911 and Ardee GC (formerly call the South Louth GC)
was founded in 1911.
The new Finglas Golf Club was
at first called the 'North Suburban' and it was considered an
irrational choice, as nobody would know where it was actually
located. Me Cecil Bancroft had completed the designs for the additional
holes at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire). Cliftonville golf club was
formed in March 1911 and formally opened in the presence of the
Lord Mayor of Belfast in August, at which stage the membership
numbered 300. Fees at Dollymount were 2s (3s) with a member and
3s (5s) otherwise Mon-Fri (Sat/Sun).
Clonmel, Cliftonville, Ardee and
Boyle would celebrate their centenary years in 2011 while Howth
Golf Club recognises its centenary year as 2016 although there
is evidence of a course layout at Howth by Cecil Barcroft in 1911.
Barcroft also expressed his concern
that the golf ball was evolving too fact and its gallop should
be halted to the extent that the only good golf ball was one that
floats lest it renders the current course obsolete despite all
the current golf balls couldn't float. Hewson, the voice of reason,
suggested the Barcroft, a course designer, had some rationale
for putting forward this contention it was unlikely that golfers
would return to the gutty at this stage. Although Hewson felt
golf manufacturers were unlikely to progress the golf ball much
further but in either case one should rely on Providence.
Gipsy golf ball 1s 9d, gloves 2s 6d (pair) and brogue shoes
and boots 17s 6d. Golf corset 5/- at Walpole's (Suffolk Street).
The New Gipsy Golf Ball
1s 9d. The Patent Colonel was reduced in price to 2s while the
new White Colonel would remain at 2s6d with 6d and 8d allowed
against old versions of the same.
Hood was selling the midget
Emerald at 1s 6d from his shop at 73 Middle Abbey Street.
Dimple" was considered by Elvery's to be the golf ball
of choice for 1911, they were based at 46-47 Lower Sackville Street.
The large-sized ball, the red
spot, is well known as a reliable ball, which has also the advantage
of floating - a most consoling matter when water is prevalent.
The light small ball or green spot is pleasant to us on a still
day or with the wind. The heavy small ball or black spot is a
delightful one in the wind and goes of the club with a keenness
that will make a beginner happy.
The better players consider the
Sunningdale type clubs to be the best club around and McKenna
(James) in Portmarnock was selling a considerable number of this
type of club.
Golfers wanting first-class
long faced wooden clubs should send to T. Walker professional
at Greystones. All clubs guaranteed best material and finish.
Mr George Combe proposes the sub-division
of the Ireland into provinces for administration purposes as the
activities of the GUI were becoming too difficult to handle this
meant the set up of four sub-unions or branches. He also proposed
that each province have their own championship course and the
rota be change from Newcastle, Portrush, Dollymount and Portmarnock.
Combe wanted also to see the end of the Amateur Close Championship
but none were probably likely to happen in the near future if
at all. Combe was chiefly responsible for the GUI formation and
any suggestions he made should be considered seriously. Combe
other resolution was to approach the Welsh Union with a view to
considering an international board for arranging championship
fixtures and courses rather than the Championship Green Selection
Committee which once again closed Ireland out of the selection
process for the Amateur championship. Hewson had referred to this
as a 'thunderbolt from the north' but later downgraded it to a
'gentle zephyr from the Chilly North' and felt there was little
merit to either resolution at this stage.
Home Internationals Royal Portrush Golf Club 12-13 May 1911
By the end of
day one Ireland were well and truly out of the running losing
5 and 4 to Scotland and losing to England by 8 to 1 in the afternoon.
The only notable exception was the appearance of Mrs Ross to play
Dorothy Campbell, the then holder of the American and Canadian
championship now residing in Canada, at the 19th hole. Equally
surprising was her defeat to Miss Cecil Leith, the then twenty-year-old
by 7 and 6. In the end England claimed the Miller Shield amongst
the three nations taking part.
Amateur Championship 16-19 May - Royal Portrush Golf Club
A very strong
contingent of lady golfers congregated at the Portrush links for
the Championship in fact you'd be hard pressed to come up with
a name that wasn't taking part and included Ravenscroft, Campbell,
the Hezlets, Harrison, Leitch and even Janet Jackson who was probably
still in her teens. The early rounds were marked by Mrs Ross quick
exit and the titanic clash between Cecil Leitch finally losing
to Galdys Ravenscroft (crowned champion in 1912) on the 22nd hole
but not before throwing away a few chances. It may have been a
chance meeting with James Edmundson that led this professional
to take up a position at Bromborough, the club where Gladys Ravenscroft
was a member and Edmundson is attributed no small part in her
success the following year. By the third round only Violet Hezlet
and Mrs Pim remained of the cohort with the latter making it all
the way to the final where two spectators followed Miss Hezlet
and Dorothy Campbell battling for the title, Miss Hezlet put up
a valiant effort but eventually lost by 3 and 2 against undoubtedly
the best player in the world at the time.
The mainly peripheral
action surrounding both of the ladies events are recorded in Eleanor
E. Helme's book After the Ball: Merry Memoirs of a Golfer in
a chapter aptly titled Pleasant Portrush in 1911. In it
she talks of lobsters, excursions on the Sabbath to Dunluce Castle
and the Giants Causeway, why parents of golfers should not patronise
championship, the Ravenscroft and Leitch match, and how snowshoes
ought not to be good preparation for winning a championship.
Amateur Championship 29 May - 2 June Prestwick
the outcome of the Amateur Championship - Portmarnock's claim
to the 1912 championship was rejected in favour of Westward Ho.!
with Darwin arguing that the two voyages needed to get to the
course was it downfall while his Irish counterpart claimed that
this was nothing more than and Argumentum ad Hominemon on Darwin's
part and that the once great seafaring nation must be turning
in its grave. Naturally the converse would then make an Irish
man's journey to win the championship and truly heroic act of
not only golf but also seafaring skills - which leaves Travis
journey and victory nearly incomprehensible.
Munn was the only
Irish player to make it to the fourth round where he beat the
Italian H L Gow but succumbed to a surprise defeat in the fifth
by J L Jenkins of Troon by 2 and 1, who in turn lost to Hilton.
In the closing stages of the Amateur Championship at Prestwick
it was inexperience that got the better of Stevens (who had beaten
Abe Mitchell by 2 and 1 earlier in the day) one of semi-finalists
as he fell foul of two rulings (i) grounding his club in a hazard
(shrub) and (ii) taking a line from his caddie in both cases Lassen
his opponent claimed the hole and with it Stevens game unravelled
despite being three up by the sixth-hole. In the end the Prestwick
committee on appeal upheld Lassen's victory of 2up. All this shenanigans
overshadowed Hilton's victory over Gordon Lockhart by 4 and 3,
which was coincidentally the same margin he secured victory against
Lassen in the final. However Lassen put up a held of a fight to
the extent they were all square after 18 and at one stage he was
three up in the course of the second round until such time as
Hilton discovered his putting touch and quickly reeled his opponent
Ladies Championship 30 May - 2 June - Malahide Island
The surprise of
the early rounds was the defeat of Miss Janet Jackson, who was
just beginning to make a name for herself, in the first round
and Mrs Ormsby in the third. By the semi-finals the dye was cast
as Miss Mabel Harrison was in one side of the draw against Miss
Shiela Tobin who had a surprise victory over Miss Violet Hezlet
by one up and the other side saw Miss Florence Walker-Leigh faced-off
against Miss E Renny Tailyour. The final was as expected even
if the route taken by one of the finalists, Miss Leigh, wasn't
as convincing as Miss Harrison and this fed through to the final
as she claimed the title by a margin of 6 and 4 which no doubt
went down well by the partisan crowd as the champion was playing
out of the Island.
Between 30 October and 2 November
Royal County Down had engaged Harry Vardon's
services and on it would also entail a strokeplay competition
for 5 handicaps and under. It was also intended that John Ball
would team up with Vardon to play Munn and Moran. O'Hare had just
been appointed to Foxrock at this stage. The course stretched
6604 yards and Vardon felt it would be better served if it had
fifty more bunkers.
Vardon (75 course record - three better than Sandy Herd) and
Mr George Combe vs Mr Crichton and Alex Robertson. Vardon and
Combe won by 3 and 2 as Robertson wasn't at his best. At the
turn of the twentieth century Combe was referred to as the High
Priest of Irish golf and gets much of the credit for the layout
for the world renowned Royal County Down golf links. Until he
got his hands on it Portrush (even by his own admission was
the better golf course) and he set about remedying the situation.
30 October: Lord Annesley and Vardon vs Mr D. W. Smyth and M.
Moran but match abandoned on the 12th due to torrential rain.
31 October: Vardon (78 winning
3 and 2) vs best ball of Robertson, Coates and Martin
31 October: Vardon and Mr Robinson (won 2 and 1) vs Moran and
31 October: Mr H.M. Cairnes
and Lord Annesley beat Mr Vernon Macan and Mr John Ball by 1
1 November: Vardon (72) would
team up with Patrick O'Hare (won 3 and 2) against Michael Moran
and A. Robertson ( 74).
1 November: Vardon (76) would team up with Robertson (won 6
and 5) against Michael Moran (pulling shots badly) and Mr John
2 November: Vardon (75) (won
3 and 2) vs best ball of John Ball and H. Cairnes (the so-called
father of Portmarnock Golf Club)
2 November: Vardon (won 3 and 1) vs Michael Moran each lost
3 November Vardon to play
three-ball match at Malone Golf Club AH Paterson and A.H. Craig
(Vardon lost as his putting was off)
4 November Vardon to play
an exhibition match at Holywood against Harold Reade and G B
Long and got the better of them.
Irish Professional Championship 8-9 June 1911 - Royal Portrush
led after the first two rounds by three strokes with James Edmundson
his nearest challenger. The O'Hare brothers were in the field
with Peter (Milltown, Co. Cork) getting the better of his brother
Patrick who was playing out of Rushbrooke. Moran won on a score
of 310 (78,81,78,73) from Jas Edmundson with Patrick finishing
with a 75 and leapfrogged his brother into fourth place just after
Hughie McNeill. Both Edmundson and McNeill recorded course record
75s (previously) in the third round but it was short-lived as
Moran's 73 took another sizeable chip of the previous course record.
Earlier on in the year Moran was
having trouble with driving which he appeared to have remedied
and went round Dollymount in 69 (32,37) on winter greens. He recovered
an old driver from Mr Howard, the steward, which appears to have
resolved the problems. Mr Barcroft is noted as laying out the
new course at Howth.
James Edmundson was not engaged
by a club when the IPC was being played but was based at Portrush.
In the professional vs amateur event which followed the IPC, Moran
beat Munn by 4 and 3. Sunday is a dies non at Portrush so players
had to make alternative arrangements to entertain themselves most
of who were based in the Northern Counties hotel.
In June 1911 golfers met at the
Northern Counties hotel in Portrush and hatched the formation
of the Irish Professional Golfers Association (IPGA) to look at
its members interests with Thomas Hood, James McKenna, John Aitken
and Alex Robertson included in the joint committee (amateur and
professional) to draw up a constitutional framework.
Within a few weeks of the IPGA
being set up some thirty members has enrolled with Stuart Anderson,
Rev J. L. Morrow and Justice Barton agreeing to join the committee.
The subscription was ten schillings per annum. The benevolent
fund was to assist out of work professionals who had few other
avenues for support. Tom Hood was the honorary secretary and all
applications to join should be forwarded to him at the Royal Dublin
Close Championship 13 -15 June - Royal
Portrush Golf Club
The early rounds saw A.V. Macan
make a huge impression with 9 and 8 victories over F.B. Newett
and 7 and 6 victory over W. J. Carroll. The final eight gave a
fair representation of where the power in Irish amateur golf lay
with Munn (a varsity player), Macan, La Touche, Cairnes, Reade
and Boyd. By the final Munn and Boyd were left standing beating
Coole and La Touche in the semi-finals. Munn who is generally
considered the best golfer in Ireland romped home to a 7 and 6
victory in front of few spectators it has to be said. Munn is
considered to be the truest hitter of the driver amongst the amateurs.
[Keep the left arm stiff making a straight-line down the forearm,
wrist and hand and bring back the club with the right-hand.] This
advice from Munn is unorthodox but nobody can question its effectiveness.
A player at Wicklow hit two balls
into the sea and the caddie swam out to retrieve them one in his
hand the other in his mouth now that's an excellent caddie.
Championship 26-29 June 1911 - Royal St. Georges, Sandwich
Duncan led the 73 qualifiers into
the final day's play on 144 trailed by Vardon, Taylor and Ray
on 148 with Moran two further back with a group of four in joint
fifth position. Moran had one of the best first rounds with a
72 but a 78 moved him down the field. A five on the eleventh during
the second round when he was bunkered seemed to derail Moran having
gone out in 36. The holes at Sandwich were being changed during
the qualifying rounds which caused some objections from the players
as everybody wasn't playing the same course. The Open Championship
ended in a tie between Vardon and Massy with Vardon winning the
36-hole play-off by 10 strokes and bridge a gap of eight years
since his last win in the event. Michael Moran finished in a tie
for twenty-first position with Lionel Munn a further twenty positions
behind him, Hugh Mc Neill and the two MacNamaras (Willie and John)
hadn't made it beyond the second round of the championship.
Dunlop's Orange Spot "Juniors"
contended it had one the five majors. The Dunlop Rubber Company
is gone into golf balls in a big way the large sized, red spot
(floats in water), the light green spot and the heavy small ball
or black spot which is delightful in the wind a releases from
the club head at pleasureable speed. 2s each.
Amateur Open Championship 28 August - 1 September 1911 Portmarnock
The Ho.n M Scott (Royal North
Devon) an ex-australian champion and Lionel Munn were the two
finalists in the championship at Portmarnock. Very optimistically
the final two rounds were set for 11am and 2.30pm. Both had reasonable
easy passages to the final with Munn defeating J.S. Kennedy of
Turnberry by 3 and 2 while Scott defeated J.L.C Jenkins of Troon
by 4 and 3 although H K Mitchell gave him a run for his money
in the previous round. Munn comprehensively won the final by 7
and 6 and his three successive wins were a record only surpassed
by Hilton who won three from 1900-1902 but also won the 1897 championship.
Scott had the better of the early exchanges covering the first
nine in 34 strokes but despite this was only one up. A large crowd
were following the match which swelled into the thousands as the
afternoon round began at 2.30 as appointed. Munn's 74 in the strokeplay
events before the event clocked a new course record for the altered
of Ireland Championship 4- 7 September Lahinch Golf Club
S.H. Fry an ex billiard champion
recorded a course record 72 in the strokeplay contest held prior
to the main event.
"The whole charm of Lahinch
lies in its unique holes and tricky greens. Puttng is a high art
here and sometimes one has almost to putt in the opposite direction
to the hole in order to end up near it."
Most of the favourites went through
the first two rounds with consummate ease and these include Munn,
Cairnes, Fry, Macan, Jameson and Boyd but the third and fourth
left a trail of destruction with Jameson falling to L.P. Vernon
the Sligo player while F.S. Bond of Royal Wimbledon ended Cairnes
and Macan's involvement in the event. Kennedy taking out Fry probably
wasn't that unexpected given the former showing in the Irish Amateur.
The last four standing were Munn, Bond, Kennedy and Vernon. In
the end Munn beat Kennedy by 7 and 5 after holding a lead of six
up after the first eighteen.
1911 saw Peter
Gannon's success in the Swiss Open Amateur Championships.
won the American Amateur Golf Championship 16 September 1911.
Women's Amateur Championship
beat Lilian B. Hyde at Baltusrol Golf Club by 5 and 3
John J. McDermott
at Chicago Golf Club Wheaton Illinois
Royal and Ancient
Championship Records 1860-1980
The Royal County
Down Golf Club: The First Century 1889-1989: McCaw and Henderson