Anyone who saw the joy on the faces of Elaine Farquharson-Black’s winning Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup squad in June – or the pain etched on the American brows – will realise how big the biennial competition has become.

But where did it all begin?

History records the first match was staged at Wentworth in 1932 when the USA won 5.5-3.5.

The origin of the competition, though, is much older and it started in Norfolk.

Royal Cromer was blessed from the beginning.

Not only was it based in spectacular surroundings – a clifftop coastal setting that Old Tom Morris knew exactly how to handle – it was almost immediately given the nod of approval from the very top.

The Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII, granted royal patronage on the club’s foundation in 1888.

By the time the Ladies’ British Open Championship arrived in 1905, Royal Cromer was thriving.

A strong contingent came over for the tournament, which was preceded by three days of internationals between the ladies of England, Scotland, Ireland and the USA.

When the British met the might of the Americans, they recorded a satisfying 6-1 win – Georgianna Bishop ensuring there wasn’t a whitewash.

Among the defeated were sisters Margaret and Harriot Curtis. The former had been beaten by May Hazlet, while the latter fell to Elinor Neville.


Far from feeling despondent, the Cromer match inspired the siblings and they offered to present a cup for future ladies’ internationals.

The idea was to promote international friendships in golf.

If you get close enough to the Curtis Cup to have a look, you’ll find the words “To stimulate friendly rivalry among the women golfers of many lands” inscribed.

Meetings began in 1924 to get the competition off the ground, and the Curtis sisters donated the trophy three years later, but patience was required as the various golf associations talked it over.

It was worth it.

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