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The Foundation of Golf at Great Yarmouth

The Great Yarmouth Golf Club was founded in 1882 by Dr Thomas Browne R.N. who on moving south to The Royal Naval Hospital in Yarmouth not only observed that the links land of the North Denes was a very suitable place for golf to be played but proceeded, by his own determined efforts, to bring his ideas to fruition. He wrote to the Mayor of Great Yarmouth outlining his idea and on the 12th of August 1882 permission was granted to play golf over the North Denes. He wrote to various publications, both local and national, and called a meeting.

Nobody turned up so Dr Browne declared himself Hon. Secretary, Treasurer, Committee and Captain. Later that month a match was played between Dr Browne, Mr Cummings and Mr Burton Steward – the first three members of the Club. Having formed the Club further matches were arranged with Royal Blackheath, Felixstowe and Cambridge University.

The Club was fortunate, in the early years, in being adopted by the members of Royal Blackheath who provided Captains, Officers, members and Trophies. The Club still plays the Blackheath Medal (a scratch competition) and Royal Blackheath in turn play for the Great Yarmouth Cup, donated by the members of Great Yarmouth in 1900 in recognition of all Royal Blackheath had done to assist them in establishing the game at Yarmouth. In 1883 the first prize meeting was held and later that year the first East Anglian inter Club match, Felixstowe versus Yarmouth was played. This match was repeated 100 years later, in 1983, and was again played – with players dressed in 19th century costume – in June 2000 to celebrate the millennium.

 

The Ladies take to the Links

The Great Yarmouth Ladies Golf Club was instituted in 1885 – some 2 years after the men’s club. They have enjoyed many prestigious events over the years not least of which was the 6th Ladies British Amateur Open Championship held in May 1898 , won by Miss Lena Thomson beating Miss Elinor Cicely Neville in the final having triumphed in earlier rounds over such well known figures as Miss M. Titterton (Maud won the Championship at St Andrews in 1908), Miss C. Dodd ( Lottie won the Wimbledon Ladies Tennis Championship aged 16 and retained the title for five years) and Miss J.I.F. Pearson (Issette, Founding member of the Ladies Golf Union and its first Honorary Secretary) all of whom were much feted for their skills at golf.

 

The Home of Bogey

In 1890 a member at Coventry Golf Club conceived the idea of playing a match under handicap against the number of shots a scratch golfer would take playing perfect golf. This was known as the ground score. This idea was suggested to Dr Browne at Yarmouth’s autumn meeting and, having received the assent of a number of prominent golfers this style of competition was introduced on a match play basis. These competitions were played throughout the winter, at the same time a music hall song “Hush! Here comes the Bogey man” was gaining in popularity. During one of these competitions Mr Wellman exclaimed to Dr Browne “This player of yours is a regular Bogey man”. Dr Browne seized on this and at Yarmouth and elsewhere the score became known as the Bogey score. Bogey competitions are still played at many clubs although in general usage the term bogey has since come to mean 1 over. 

 

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