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who was samuel ryder

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

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.

Ryder

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.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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