This club is famous for... helping to found the Ryder Cup

Golf Tips

The Dorset course played a pivotal role in the start of the bi-annual battle.

We all know the story of Samuel Ryder and Verulam, which style themselves as the home of the Ryder Cup.

But did you know there is another club that played their own part in bringing the brilliant biennial tournament to life?

Ryder enjoyed nothing more than an annual break in Dorset.

While the family took to the beach at Weymouth, and relations holed up in the Royal Hotel for a fortnight, the architect of the clash between Europe and the United States of America enjoyed the fairways and greens at nearby Came Down.

The St Albans seed merchant, who had made his money flogging penny seed packets to the public, soon became a country member and started to play a role in club affairs.


He came into contact with the talented Whitcombe brothers – Ernest, Charles and Reg.

They were a trio who would eventually rack up 11 appearances between them in Ryder Cups.

The story goes that, having noticed their skill at the game, Ryder asked Ernest, the eldest, if they played in the biggest events.

Ernest reportedly replied he rarely did because he could not afford the unpaid time and the travel was just too much of a cost to bear.

He told Ryder: “The Americans come over here smartly dressed and backed by wealthy supporters. ‘The Britisher has a poor chance compared to that.”

Maybe Ernest had been influenced by the dapper Walter Hagen and was making a point, but his words had a profound effect on Ryder – a late convert to the game who was taking an everyman approach to golf.

Rooting for the underdog, Ryder talked with Abe Mitchell – the figure who adorns the top of the now famous gold trophy – and George Duncan, who would captain the 1929-winning team, about what could be done.

The result was the birth of the hugely anticipated contest of continents.

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