A Brief History

FIRST RECORDED MATCH

(Before the Formation of the Society)

Royal St. George’s Golf Club

The Times Newspaper reported on Monday 2 May 1904:

The Bar Golfing Society played a strong team drawn from The Stock Exchange at Sandwich on Saturday. Thirty-six hole matches between teams of nine a-side, were played, a win scoring one point.  The Stock Exchange won rather easily by seven matches to two.  Heavy rain and strong winds made play in the morning difficult.

Mr T.Mansfield-Hunter led the Bar Society and Mr S.Mure Fergusson (twice runner up in the English Amateur Championship – 1894 and in 1898 both Championships being played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club) the Stock Exchange team.  Mr Mure Fergusson was occasionally weak in his putting, but played a sound game through the green, and at the end of the morning round he had a lead of one hole.  Although going out in 33 strokes in the afternoon, he only increased his lead by a hole.  After turning for home, however, Mr Mure Fergusson won by six holes up and five to play.  Mr B.Darwin (Bar Society) played an excellent long game and secured a three holes lead from Mr A.D.Blyth on the morning round.  Owing chiefly to putting, Mr Blyth reduced his opponents lead, but Mr Darwin in the end finished two up on the match.  Mr H.W.Beveridge (Bar Society) and Mr H.W.de Zoete had a hard game in the morning, finishing all square after at no time being separated by more than a hole.  In the afternoon Mr de Zoete was three up at the turn, and eventually won by three holes up and two to play.  Mr Horace Castle (Stock Exchange) had to meet Mr H.G.B.Ellis and found his opponent in excellent form.  Mr Ellis went round in the morning in 76 strokes, and finished two holes up.  In the afternoon he went out in 34 and came home in 41, making 75 for the round.  The match, however, finished at the fifteenth hole, Mr Castle being beaten by five holes up and three to play.  Mr Ernly Blackwell (Bar Society) was beaten by Mr O.C.Bevan by five holes up and four to play, after being four holes down at the end of the first round.  Mr M.W.Mossop (Stock Exchange), after being led by a hole at the end of the first round, beat Mr E.G.Rand by five holes up and four to play.  Mr R.H.Dun (Bar Society) finished the morning round one up on Mr R.H.Mitchell, but the latter stood one up at the turn in the afternoon, and eventually won by two holes. The Hon. Evan Charteris (Bar Society) and Mr C.Kerr also carried their match to the home green.  Mr Kerr stood two holes down with three to play, but he won the last three holes, and thus won the match by one hole.  Mr J.H.Hedderwick (Stock Exchange) beat Mr J.Crabb Watt by eight holes up and seven to play.”

THE RESULTS

STOCK EXCHANGE
THE BAR GOLFING SOCIETY
Mr S. Mure Ferguson
1
Mr T. Mansfield-Hunter
0
Mr A.D. Blyth
0
Mr B. Darwin
1
Mr H.W. de Zoete
1
Mr H.W. Beveridge
0
Mr H.G. Castle
0
Mr H.G.B. Ellis
1
Mr O.C. Bevan
1
Mr Ernly Blackwell
0
Mr M.W. Mossop
1
Mr E.G. Rand
0
Mr R.H. Mitchell
1
Mr R.H. Dun
0
Mr C. Kerr
1
The Hon. Evan Charteris
0
Mr J.H. Hedderwick
1
Mr J. Crabb Watt
0

SOCIETY ORIGINS

Research has determined the origins of The Stock Exchange Golfing Society.  It was reported in The Times Newspaper on Wednesday 8th March 1905 that “A club has been formed under this title with the object of playing inter-team matches.  Mr S.Mure Fergusson is the first Captain.”

It was subsequently reported, two days later that “The Committee of this Society has been elected as follows:

Messrs F.E.Baddeley, A.D.Blyth, H.C.Blyth, F.H.A.Booth, E.M.Bristowe, Walter Carr, H.G.Castle, C.C.Clarke, R.E.Foster, R.O.Grant, J.H.Hedderwick, R.H.Hedderwick, S.F.Kennedy, W.W.Kerr, S.E.R.Lane, W.E.Maclagan, M.W.Mossop, A.C.Oldham, P.C.Quilter, J.A.Ross, W.M.de Zoete, H.W.de Zoete.

Mr S.Mure Fergusson is the Captain, and Mr W.Brander jun. and Mr C.G.Tunks are the Joint Honorary Secretaries and Treasurers.

THE FIRST SOCIETY TOURNAMENT

The Times Newspaper reported on 10th July 1905 that

the first handicap match play tournament of The Stock Exchange Golfing Society, which was begun last April with an entry of 210 players, has been brought to a close.  Eight heats had to be played to decide the competition, and in the final tie of 36 holes, on the Sunningdale Club links, Mr E.A.Smirke (scratch) beat Mr H.S.Castle (scratch) by 4 holes up and 3 to play.”

EARLY MATCHES

Versus The Bar Golfing Society, Saturday 13th May 1905 at Royal St Georges
Lost 6 – 3
Versus Cricketers Golfing Society, Saturday 17th March 1906 at Byfleet

Dr W.G.Grace played in this match winning his game by 5 holes to 3

Won 8¾ – 6¼
Versus The Bar Golfing Society, Saturday 12th May 1906 at Royal St Georges
Won 5 – 4
Versus The London Solicitors, Saturday 7th July 1906 at Romford
Won 5 – 2½

THE SECOND SOCIETY TOURNAMENT

Was won on Friday 15th June 1906 by Mr A.C. Oldham (7), a member of the Sunningdale Club, who defeated Mr G.B. Dudgeon by 2 and 1 at Sunningdale.

THE FIRST SCRATCH COMPETITION

On Thursday 1st November 1906, 30 Members of The Stock Exchange Golfing Society played a 36 hole scratch stroke play competition at Sunningdale.  The best single round score was 74 by Mr Robert Harris which beat the competition record for the course by one stroke.

The trophy was won by Mr S.H. Fry who scored 154 (76 & 78) to win by a stroke.

THE FIRST VETERANS COMPETITION

On Saturday 17th November 1906, at Felixstowe, The Stock Exchange Golfing Society competition for “The Richard Finch Cup” (open to members 45 years of age and upwards) was won by Mr W.C. Palmer, with a score of 96 less 12 = 84 nett.

THE RYDER CUP CONNECTION

Apart from having several Members of the Stock Exchange earning representative honours it is interesting to note that the Society made the largest donation of two hundred guineas towards the Golf Illustrated Appeal for three thousand pounds to fund a trip to America for the first official Ryder cup in 1927.  Everyone had assumed that Samuel Ryder, who had organised the first exhibition match between an English and American team at Wentworth in 1926, would sponsor the return the other side of the Atlantic but he felt he had already invested too much money into the professional game.  Out of interest contributions from enthusiasts from Canada, Australia, Nigeria and the USA were received as well as just 20 guineas from the PGA!

MATCHES AGAINST LLOYDS GOLF CLUB

This match was conceived by J.E.(Jimmy) Tompkinson (later Palmer-Tompkinson) and his friend Guy Rogers of the Lloyds Golf Club. It was played for three years in the 1920’s but only since 1956 has it been contested annually.

The early encounters were played at Thorndon Park on a Saturday and featured three Walker Cup golfers:- C.V.L.(Charles, known as Chubby) Hooman for Lloyds and Robert Harris and C.H. (Cyril) Tolley, twice English Amateur Champion (1920 at Muirfield and 1929 at Royal St Georges), for the Stock Exchange.  Despite being to some extent outgunned at the top of the order, Lloyds won all three matches.

Why there should then have been a break of almost three decades before the two sides met again is a mystery, particularly bearing in mind the undoubted friendship between those involved and the presence of Robert Harris at several Lloyd’s Golf Club Dinners in the mid-Twenties, including when he spoke on behalf of the guests.

It was during Palmer’s tenure as Honorary Secretary that the match was revived at his Course, New Zealand, which was used on several occasions until 1962, when the fixture became established at Woking where the encounter continues to be played.  It is fascinating to see on its rebirth the Walker Cup thread remained unbroken, this time in the presence of triallist S.V.(Steve) Tredinnick for Lloyd’s and player and Captain Alec Hill for the Stock Exchange.

For a number of years it was a contest between the fittest and the best and two more Walker Cup players, M.G. (Michael) King and P.J. (Peter) Benka for the Stock Exchange and an Eisenhower Trophy man, Nuno de Brito e Cunha, for Lloyds played in the match.

Later, when Robin Illingworth took over the match, it reverted to a more ‘friendly’ level and it was during his reign that in 1979 his father, Miles Illingworth, presented a silver cup to be played for annually.

SOME NOTABLE SOCIETY PERSONALITIES

The Society’s founder, Samuel Mure Fergusson, was a renowned plus four handicap golfer of the day regularly playing in the Open Championship where his best finish was at St Andrews in 1891 when he came 4th, and the English Amateur where he was twice runner-up.  At the age of twenty he was elected a member of the R & A and proceeded to win the Autumn Medal in his first competition.  In all he won twenty medals the last one coming thirty-nine years after the first.  He was one of the games most effective administrators, being a member of numerous committees including the inaugural Rules of Golf Committee of 1897.  He was Captain of the R & A in 1910.   He designed the New Zealand Golf Club with Tom Simpson in 1895 before becoming the Club’s first Honorary Secretary.

Robert Harris was selected as Captain of the Walker Cup team in 1922 but had to withdraw due to illness, although he did captain the team in1923 and 1926.  He was British Amateur Champion in 1925 having previously been runner-up in 1913 and 1923.  He won the Amateur Medal in coming tenth equal in 1925 Open Championship.  He was a Scottish International between 1905 and 1912 and then again between 1922 and 1926.

Cyril Tolley, a Major in the Royal Tank Regiment, was awarded the Military Cross before being captured by the Germans and imprisoned behind enemy lines for thirteen months during the First World War.  At the end of hostilities it was not long before he made his breakthrough into the big time on the amateur golf scene.  He became probably the best amateur golfer in the world behind Bobby Jones.  He played in the precursor to the Walker Cup after which he made appearances between 1922 and 1934, captaining the team in 1924.  He was:- an English International between 1922 and 1930; British Amateur Champion in 1922 and 1929; a quarter finalist in the US Amateur Championship in 1922 and 1929; three times runner-up in the President’s Putter before finally winning it in 1938; eighteenth equal in the 1924 winning the low amateur medal, and 25th in the 1929, in the Open Championship; won the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase in 1926.  He twice won the French Open overpowering top class professional fields, in 1924 at the expense of Walter Hagen and again in 1928.  He was honoured to be Captain of the R & A in 1948 when at the age of 53 he still played off a ‘plus’ handicap.  Two years later he reached the semi-final of the British Amateur Championship at St Andrews.

G. Alec Hill D.S.O. Captained England in the Boys Internationals 1926;  he played for England in the Home Internationals in 1936 and 1937; he was a semi-finalist in the 1936 Amateur Championship; he played in the 1936 Walker Cup and was non-playing Captain at St Andrews in 1955.  He was Captain of the R & A in 1964, Captain of the Stock Exchange Golfing Society in 1956 and its President from 1965 to 1975.

Michael King had a distinguished amateur career winning the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Amateur Championship four times and their Open in 1968.  He played for Britain in the International against Europe in 1970 and 1972 and in the 1971 Commonwealth Tournament and gained Walker Cup honours 1969 and 1973.  After the stock market crash of 1974 he turned Professional and spent many years on the European Tour.  In 1979 he enjoyed his most successful year during when he won the SOS Talisman Tournament Players Championship at Moor Park (his only Tour win).  In that year he was also picked to play in the 1979 Ryder Cup and represented England in the World Cup.

Peter Benka was British Youths Champion in 1967 and 1968 and in 1969 he won the St Georges Grand Challenge Cup.  In that year, he played in the European Amateur Team Championship and in the Walker Cup and he also won the Sunningdale Foursomes partnering Peter Ousterhuis.  He represented England 29 times.  He began his career as a golf administrator in 1972, as Captain of Surrey.  He served on the County Committee for 25 years and was Vice-President at the time of his death.  In 1981 he began work with the English Golf Union on the Executive and Finance Committee, and later on the Championship Committee. He became an England selector in 1993, and served as chairman from 1994 until 1998. He was President elect of the English Golf Union but his untimely death in December 2007 prevented him from taking Office.