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Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club near Richmond - Tales from the 19th

PUBLISHED: 14:54 05 June 2014 | UPDATED: 14:54 05 June 2014

Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in Richmond

Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in Richmond

Archant

Found on a famous bend of the River Thames, the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club is a golfing haven near Richmond. Here, John Whitbread, of the Surrey Golf Partnership, shares the story of this historic club

Just a few hundred yards from the busy A316 at Richmond, where thousands of motorists do battle on their daily commute to and from London, is a real sporting enclave.

Founded more than a hundred years ago, the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club occupies an historic area of royal parkland and shares a bend in the river with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Few clubs have as much right to the ‘Royal’ prefix as Mid Surrey. Its historic connections with royalty go back to Plantagenet times when Henry V’s monastery stood where the 14th and 15th holes of the Outer Course are now played.

Royal status was also bestowed on the club in 1926 when the then Prince of Wales was captain and it was a cousin of Queen Victoria, the second Duke of Cambridge, who was the club’s first president.

Championship play

The club has two fine 18-hole courses designed by the great JH Taylor, five times Open champion and club professional for 47 years. The JH Taylor (Outer) Course (6,385 yards, par 70) is the scene for the famous Antlers Open Competition for Amateur Foursomes Medal play; while the Pam Barton (Inner) Course (5,546 yards, par 67) is home to the well-known Mothers and Daughters Open Competition.

When Mid-Surrey was founded in 1892 the whole stretch of land was so flat that Times correspondent Bernard Darwin was outspoken in using the phrase ‘flat as a pancake’. It was the club’s first famous professional, JH Taylor, a five times winner of the Open, who began making it more interesting. He and greenkeeper Peter Lees led about 100 men recruited from the ranks of the unemployed to create the ‘humps and hollows’ that gave the course its distinctive character.

In its early days, the course was the scene of several famous tournaments beginning with the old News of the World matchplay championship in 1904. The English Championship was held there in 1946, the PGA championship in 1961 and 1968 and the Boys’ Championship in 1962 and again in the centenary year of 1992.

In the 1970s, David Talbot brought more prestige to the club. He won the PGA championship in 1968 and became its captain in 1979.

While the old clubhouse was destroyed by a fire in March 2001, the royal connections were again evident in November 2003 when the Duke of York opened its replacement.

• Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club, Twickenham Road, Richmond TW9 2SB. Tel: 0208 940 1894

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The Surrey Golf Partnership comprises 111 clubs, which are also affiliated to the Surrey Golf Union and the Surrey Ladies Golf Union. For more information, visit surreygolfpartnership.com

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