Golfing trophies and some replicas, 1959
Tomorrow sees the start, in France, of the Ryder Cup, and as it says in today’s Daily Telegraph (and I quote the golfer, Colin Montgomerie) “There is nothing like the Ryder Cup. Not in golf. Not in all of sport. They say imitation is the best [sic] form of flattery and if that is true then the Ryder Cup can be very proud because so many other sports have tried to copy it. But they have all failed even to approach the passion and interest produced by this match. Europe does not come together like this in any other context. It is the only competition that pits one side of the Atlantic against the other.
“When Jack Nicklaus suggested it in the Seventies that the Great Britain and Ireland team be expanded to take in the whole continent just so America could be given a proper match, he could not have imagined what it would become.”
Now, if you’re not a golfer, this might seem over the top praise for this contest between the USA and Europe, but believe me, even if you think golf is a good walk spoiled, the passion for the game by these two teams is second to none. It is only held once every two years, and alternately in America and Europe, so it only comes to Europe once in every four years and not always to the UK – this year it is being held in France.
And so, if you have the opportunity to watch, then please do watch this contest which is being held over three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You don’t even have to know the finer points of the game to appreciate the skill of the players, although I’m sure some of the commentators will mention various points and the scoring procedures as there are various methods of scoring, whether fourballs, foursomes, or singles.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say this – to praise the game – as I come from a family of golfers. Well, up to a point. My father and my uncle played and so fed up was my mother of being a ‘golf widow’ that she decided to have lessons herself.
My mother, ‘addressing’ the ball on Torquay Golf Course, 1959
She turned out to be a natural at the game, outshining both my father and my uncle and many more at her golf club! In her first two years of playing she won not one but five trophies, at least one of them open to men and women and the most prestigious of all at her club at that time (1959), the Jubilee Cup, which had that year 96 entrants. (And I still have six silver spoons that she won in the women’s monthly medal competitions, one spoon for each competition won.)
My mother being presented with the Jubilee Cup at Torquay Golf Club in 1959, by the Mayor and Mayoress of Torquay
The lead photo for this post shows her trophies and some of the small replicas she was given (not all trophies had replicas.) My father, bless him, only ever won one such trophy, but they were both good golfers.
I haven’t dug out any photos of my father and uncle playing – I have some somewhere – but I have just a few of my mother which I’m showing here. She and my father loved to play a few holes of a summer’s evening after they’d closed our shop, and also on a Sunday afternoons. I would sometimes caddie for my mother, dragging her little trolley after me, up and down the hills of the course. One day, after such a game with her friend, Cynthia (who is called Cynthia these days? It’s a name that seems to have gone totally out of fashion) my father, who had been taking our Corgi dog for a walk, joined us at the club and took a photo of the three of us, myself, Mum and Cynthia, with our dog in front of us. (Can you see my little Kodak Brownie 127 camera next to me? I’ve always taken photos, even in those days. But not long after this photo was taken I received my first 35mm camera for my 15th birthday).
Yes, that is me. Brown hair then! I’m wearing golf shoes, too, as I had lessons and, of course, used them (the shoes, not the lessons!) to walk around the course even if I wasn’t playing. I was reasonably good but quite frankly, when you’re 14 you much prefer something a little faster than golf! Tennis was my game in those days.
I’m also wearing what was a favourite jumper, in white and navy blue, the navy blue bands having flat bows on the front, not too ornamental to be considered ditsy. I didn’t do ditsy even then! The skirt belonged to a ‘costume’ (which is what women called suits in those days) which had a little jacket, again which I loved.
Mum, who was mainly an ‘irons’ player (for those who don’t know about golf, there are two kinds of clubs, woods and irons, and Mum always preferred her irons and seldom, if ever, used woods off the fairway.) Here she is getting out of the ‘rough’, the longer grass beside the fairway. Head down, girl! (Mum was about 47 when these photos were taken.)
It was a very happy time for me, and my parents had lots of friends at the club who I thus knew and mixed with, especially the professional golfer at the club – who had taught my mother and me to play – and his wife, who became firm friends and even attended my wedding.
The club house has now changed quite a lot I think, from what our son – now a member and a player – says, but in ‘my’ day I loved to have afternoon tea on the veranda, sitting in Lloyd Loom chairs and eating anchovy toast and Mrs Jones’s chocolate cake (Mrs Jones was the wife of the Steward.) And truly, there was nothing quite like the scent of the grass as the mowing machines were busy, cutting it in summer. The scent of cut grass takes me instantly back to those days.
And so, I shall be watching the Ryder Cup tomorrow, cheering on the Great Britain, Ireland and Europe team. And to you in America, if your players play well – as indeed I am sure they will – I will cheer for them, too!
I headed this post “Two Special Events” and the other, the first being The Ryder Cup, is that this is my 450th post. How can I have written so much in such a short time? Yappy, that’s me!
And finally … the weather is glorious right now. There was a brilliant sunrise this morning and so I took some photos, to try and capture it as it burst forth into our sitting room.
Until next time.