Even Nazi bombers couldn’t ruin a good gameDecember, 2014
When the Second World War came to Surrey club Richmond, the members made sure they were prepared.
During the winter of 1940 it wasn’t just freezing conditions, falling snow and muddy divots that threatened to put a dent in a golfer’s card.
Luftwaffe bombing raids threatened the lives of innocent civilians, but one surrey club refused to let the Nazis ruin their fun. After Richmond, near Twickenham, was struck by bombs in the autumn of 1940, a set of temporary rules was introduced to ensure players were prepared for every eventuality.
News of the rules even reached Berlin. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, reacted by saying: “By means of these ridiculous reforms the English snobs try to impress the people with a kind of pretended heroism. They can do so without danger, because, as everyone knows, the German Air Force devotes itself only to the destruction of military targets and objectives of importance to the war effort.”
Although the course was located close to a Spitfire factory and Hurricane designer Sir Sydney Camm was a long-time member, the military significance of Richmond’s laundry room – destroyed by a raid in 1940 – remains unclear.
So next time you’re thinking about calling off the round due to a spot of rain this winter, spare a thought for those fine fellows who played at a wartime Richmond and maintained a rather stoic sense of humour.
Richmond Golf Club
Temporary Rules, 1940
1. Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
2. In competitions, during gunfire, or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
3. The positions of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags placed at a reasonable, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom.
4. Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways or in bunkers within a club’s length of a ball may be moved without penalty, and no penalty call be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty, one stroke.