Open Search -

Like us on Facebook


Course Atlas -

Course Atlas



Please consider supporting our efforts.

Amount: 


Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. (1882 - 1960s)

The club was formed on July 31st 1882; the nine-hole course opened on the 11th of September 1882. One of the more high profile lost courses it was located at, The Duver, St Helens, Bembridge.

In 1882 the first president was his Serene Highness Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar, later to become King Edward VII. The first captain was Major Hambrough of Steephill, Ventnor. Royals and politicians were frequent visitors to the Island and its popular links. 

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helens. The Golf Links and Common.

Golf Links and Common, St Helen's.

 

The following is an extract from a report from "The Field" dated 16th September 1882. "This club was formally opened on Monday 11th inst. A considerable number of the members and their friends lunched at the Royal Spithed Hotel, Bembridge, where an excellent repast was prepared by the manager. The hon. sec. Commander Eaton R.N., made an interesting statement of the origin and rise of the club up to the present time, showing that since its formation on July 31st its members had increased to fifty, and hardly a day passes without bringing new and important additions to their number. An excellent professional (Mr James Beveridge, late of North Berwick) has been appointed, and has taken up his quarters on the ground. Through the extreme liberality of one of the patrons (Mr C Tottenham), who has also become a life member, a beautiful gold medal by Messrs. Phillips Brothers and Son of Cockspur Street, has been designed, to be called "The Tottenham Medal." This medal and other prizes will be competed for at the autumn meeting."   

From the Isle of Wight Observer Saturday 4th November 1882 “This club, which has been established in connection with the Royal Spithead Hotel, held its first autumn meeting on Thursday. Unfortunately the weather was totally against good scoring. Eight couples for the prizes, consisting of a gold medal, presented by Mr C Tottenham, a claret jug presented by Mrs Henley Grose Smith and a set of golf clubs and dozen golf balls presented by the club. Captain Corse Scott and Mr R B Molesworth tied for the Tottenham gold medal, Mr Molesworth winning the play off. Captain C Scott, won the claret jug. The set of clubs was won by Captain Eaton and the golf balls were won by Mr A J Duncan

The secretary of the club, J P Eaton, wrote a letter to the editor of the Hampshire Times regarding the above report, stating “I observe in your issue of last Saturday, in reference to the Isle of Wight Golf Club, that it is stated that the club is in connection with the Royal Spithead Hotel. As this is in no way the case, I shall be much obliged by your correcting the statement in your next issue. The golf club merely holds its dinners etc, there, and of course it’s a natural place for members to stay when visiting the Island for golf”

In August 1883 it was reported that H.R.H the Prince of Wales had graciously consented to become patron of the club. The course was steadily improving under the direction of J Beveridge, the custodian, and his brother Daniel, both of whom were also first class club makers.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. Article from The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News April 1883.

From The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News April 7th 1883. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Text on the above image. Top left to right – Coming from Headquarters; Gaspard Le Marchant, Capt. Alexander Corse-Scott, Reginald Molesworth; Middle right – Sir H Daly presents the medals; Bottom left to right – Dudley Watkins; The man in the chimney; A Professional, John Jellicoe Scott; Something new in caddies.  

The second annual meeting was held at the Royal Spithead Hotel clubroom on October 27th 1884. Considering the large expenditure on the course there was a balance in hand of £110 and this was considered most satisfactory. Captain J S Eaton was unanimously elected club captain and he was also to continue is duties as hon. secretary. Mr Gaspard T. Le Marchant was elected hon. treasurer, and Captain A J Corse-Scott was elected to the council. During the year the course had improve significantly, the greens especially. Even though the entrance fee had been raised to three guineas there had been a steady influx of members. 

The autumn meeting took place on October 29th and 31st 1884 in perfect weather. It was stated that on October 29 “twelve and a half couples” competed for the Tottenham gold medal (best gross), a cup value £5, kindly presented by Captain W W Poynder R.N, and two prizes of club and balls; there was also a sweepstake.  Mr D Brown won the Tottenham medal winning a play-off against Mr A Mayhewe (both scoring 91). Scores below.

A Mayhewe 91 6 85 C L Anstruther 108 7 101
J W Wright 93 3 90 L T Le Marchant 126 25 101
D Brown 91 scr 91 Dr W Reid R.N 104 3 101
A F Brown 107 15 92 Rev C Shilson 123 22 101
H Bradby 103 10 83 Captain Eaton R.N 108 6 102
W F Fisher 123 30 93 Captain R Alexander 123 20 103
M Tabuteau 111 18 93 Rev W H Richards 126 22 104
F G Fisher 122 25 97 B W Greenfield 142 36 106
G Le Marchant 119 22 97 E W Hamilton 124 12 112
Captain Corse-Scott 101 3 98 Colonel Harris 130 16 114

 On October 31st “eleven and a half couples” entered for Mrs Hambrough’s valuable prize (a case of silver spoons). Mr J W Wright won with a score of 91-3-88

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Club button.

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club button.

 

The following is taken from The Golfing Annual 1888-89; Instituted August 1882; Entrance Fee Five Guineas and Subs One Guinea; Number of members 200, limited to 150 playing members; Captain, Sir Henry Pottinger, Bart; Council - Rev C Chilson, J W Wright, Rev W H Richards, J B M Lingard-Monk, Capt. A J Corse-Scott, Lt. Col. E Howard-Brooke, Col. Chas Fortescue, A F Brown, Capt. Twyman and Sir R A Dalyell; Secretary- Gaspard Le Marchant; Hon. Treasurer - Lt. Col. W S N Clayton; Home Green - Bembridge, Isle of Wight; Green-keeper, James Beveridge.

Club Prizes - The Scratch Medals played for at Easter, October and Christmas; numerous Handicap Prizes at all meetings. Prize winners in 1888; F F Liddell, 91; J W Wright, 88; Capt. A J Corse-Scott, 94. 

Lowest Scratch Score in a club competition - 83 on St Andrew's Day 1886 by T S Henry. 

The establishment of this club was undoubtedly due to the energy of Capt. J S Eaton, R.N., its first secretary. The links are delightfully situated on the sea coast between Bembridge and St Helen's. The club is now full. and a number of candidates are on the list for election when vacancies occur.

Secretaries at the RIOW Golf Club; Captain J S Eaton, R.N. 1882; Gaspard Le Marchant, The Home Green, Bembridge, 1888-1890; D Knight, 1902; Roger North, 1904; P A North, 1905; M Tabuteau, Bembridge, 1914; C E Browne, 80 Norcott, Bembridge, 1922; Colonel K G Campbell, The Shieling, Bembridge, 1930s-40; M de B Smith, Woodlands, Ryde Rd, Seaview, 1947-50s; Commander C Denison, 1965.

Following are the professionals that served the RIOW club. It was often the case, especially in the early years, that the professional also took on the role as green-keeper as part of his duties; Jones, 1887/8; James Beveridge, 1888-1890; Archie Simpson, 1890/1; A Jackson, 1891/2; J Tolmie, 1894-98; Alfred Toogood, 1900-02; J W Bannister, 1902-04; E Trickett, 1905/6; Charles John Jacobs, 1906-1930s; G H Barnes, 1930s; V Callaway, WW2-1950s (listed as Green-keeper); R W Shelley, 1960s (listed as Green-keeper). W Playfoot was listed as Green-keeper in the early 1920s.

Over the seasonal period 1889 the two day Christmas Meeting was held in fine weather. A large party of golfers were staying at the Spithead Hotel. The Bembridge Gold Medal was won by Mr D Kinloch. The Eaton Gold Memorial Putter, played on the second day for the first time, was won by Mr David Brown, the club captain for the year, a full size silver putter presented by the club was given to the winner. A dinner took place at the Royal Spithead Hotel were all the prizes were presented. Result’s and prize winners below.

First Day results.

Captain Twyman (Captain Hamilton's Prize) 110 27 83
Colonel T M Harris 96 12 84
Mr Henley C Clarke 103 18 85
Captain D A Kinloch (Bembridge Gold Medal) 89 4 85
Major W P Monckton 107 21 86
Mr G D Rowe 104 18 86
Mr W D Bovill 98 11 87
Mr A F Brown 96 8 88
Mr F Quick 98 10 88
Major Lawrence Gordon 104 15 89
Mr F Hardcastle MP 109 20 89
Mr David Brown (Fisher Prize) 92 2 90
Mr W R Anderson 103 12 91
Rev C Shilson 105 14 91
Professor E Ray-Lankester 117 25 92
Mr H H Longman 108 16 92
Mr W Mitchell Innes 100 4 96
Mr G F Muir 108 12 96
Mr J W Wright 97 1 96
Sir R A Dalyell 115 18 97
Mr Wilson Hoare 102 5 97
Mr L B Keyser 111 14 97
Mr Duncan Macnab 113 16 97

The following competitors scored over 100 net or had no returns; Captain J F C Hamilton, Lieut-Colonel Clayton, Colonel C Fortescue, Mr E M Protheroe, Dr W Reid RN, Rev W H Richards, Hr H Ross, Captain R Alexander and Lieut- Colonel Howard Brooke.

On the second day of competition it was virtually the same field. Mr David Brown won the Eaton Memorial Gold Putter with a score of 86-2-84.

The Easter meeting took place in April 1890. Mr H Bradby with a scratch score of 94 took the Eaton Gold Challenge Shield. The Ellis Cup was won by Mr L B Keyser with a score of 96-14-82. The rules under which this trophy is competed for states that anyone winning it twice gets to keep the trophy therefore it becomes the property of Mr Keyser who won it in 1887. In the evening about 30 members dined with the club captain at the Royal Spithead Hotel. The new club room, which had recently been erected by the owners of the hotel for the use of the members of the golf club, was much appreciated, and would add to the comfort of  both members and visitors to the golf club.

In 1890 the lowest recorded score of 83 was made by T S Henry on St Andrews Day.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. Article from The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News January 1894.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 6th January 1894. Image © Illustrated London News Group.

 

Below is the result of an I.W Golf Union match was played at Freshwater against Needles Golf Club (now defunct) in June 1898.

Needles Golf Club   Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club  
F Tankard 0 F G Fisher +4
Dr C Hands 0 C D Knight 0
Mr Turner +1 Colonel Hamilton 0
Mr Vicars 0 E L Horsburgh +9
  1   13

 The Whitsuntide Meeting took place on Monday 22nd May 1899 in fine weather with a blustery south-west wind, and the play was reported as being “somewhat indifferent” . This was the second meeting for which Major Lamont’s prize was competed for, and there was a large entry. Many competitors also took out cards for Mr Mitchell’s prize. The captain, Major W H G Gordon, had presented an “artistic silver cup” for competition among the members, following are the leading scores; G Prideaux Brune (won after play-off), 88+2-90; F G Fisher, 89+1-90; G F Muir, 104-14-90; L T Le Marchant, 109-18-91; C E Malcolm, 109-18-91; Dr Reid R.N, 97-3-94; Colonel Gardiner, 108-14-94; H G Biden, 94+1-95; G F Taylor, 109-14-95; C J Pugh, 111-16-95; E L S Horsburgh, 106-9-97; Captain Farrant, 108-10-98; Major W H Gordon, 107-8-99; J Sutton Sams, 117-18-99. 

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. Article from The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News June 1903.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. Article from The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News June 1903.

From The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News June 6th 1903. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Mr Latimer Le Marchant presided at the AGM in April 1904. Mr Veitch was elected captain, Major Le Marchant treasurer and the Hon. Roger North secretary. Thanks were passed to Colonel Clayton and Mr Davenport Knight for their long and valued services as treasurer and secretary and to Major Seely, DSO., MP., the retiring captain. A proposition by Mr Davenport Knight, seconded by Mr Westmacott and supported by Colonel Moreton, in favour of Sunday Play was strongly opposed by the new captain, the vicar of Bembridge. It was ultimately rejected by 17 to 8. Princess Henry of Battenburg , Governor of the Isle of Wight, accepted the offer of President of the RIOW Golf Club.

Following is the result of the Lesley Melville Prize played in August 1904; Lieut Col W H G Gordon96-9-87; E Winch, 102-15-87; Rev C W Horsburgh, 86+2-88; E Coles, 96-7-89; C Searle, 102-12-90. 

The following is taken from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club (Bembridge); Hon. Secretary, P A North; Captain, J Gibson; Professional, E Trickett; Greenkeeper, Charles Jacobs; Professional record, R Jones, 71; Amateur record , Captain H Grabbe, 77; Number of members, 250; Entrance fee, £5/5s and Subs £2/2s; Visitors fees, 2/6 a day and 10/6 a week. "The course is situated on a spur of land between Bemmbridge Harbour and The Solent, and possesses (to quote Mr Horace Hutchinson) "turf of the true golfing quality." The holes are shortish, but sufficient for the delictation of all but the most slashing of the young school of golfers, while there is a hazard of sand, sea, whins or road to punish every erratic stroke either from the tee or through the green. Moreover, the usual monotony of a nine-hole course is entirely dispelled by the variety of the holes, each of which possesses a distint individuality. The putting greens, partly level, partly undulating, are exceptionally true, fast and well cared for. The only drawback to the course is that its smallness necessitates a certain amount of crossing, but "when there are not too many players the golf at Bembridge is hard to beat" - G W Carey.

Also listed is the Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club (see separate entry on the website.)

In April 1907 a meeting was held regarding Sunday play. After a lengthy debate it was decided, by a substantial majority, to allow play to take place after one o’clock. It was stipulated that visiting golfers playing on Sunday must be members of a recognised club.

Result of the July 1908 monthly stroke competition; K (F?) L S Horsburgh, 89-12-77; J G Ware, 100-12-88; Major Le Marchant, 105-16-89. 

Results below from December 1909 and January 1910.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. Competition results from December 1909 and January 1910.

From the Isle of Wight County Press and South of England Reporter January 8th 1910. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Result of the Autumn Competition played in October 1911; A Westmacott, 86-4-82; A S Gordon, 91-6-85; J G Ware, 93-8-85; M Katinakis, 94-8-86; S M Mellor, 95-8-87; H Ross Todd, 106-18-88; F A Edwrads, 100-10-90; Major Gibson, 106-5-101. The Tottenham Gold Medal was won by A Westmacott, 86.

  

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. Article from The Sketch January 1912.

From The Sketch Wednesday January 12th 1912. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

The February 1913 monthly stroke competition was won by J B Shapter, 87-6-81.

In August 1913 Miss Moreton and Master Gore won the mixed foursomes  with a net score of 65; Mrs Murdantt and Captain Byrne were second with 66. The prizes were presented by Mr R Stewart Savile.

In November 1913 the "St Andrew's Day" competition was secured by W E Parkinson, 84-5-79, he won the St Andrew's Cross and Club Prize. Colonel Gordon, 91-11-80, won the Moreton Cup.   

The 1913 Christmas Competition for the Eaton memorial gold putter "value £70 with a head of solid gold and a shaft made from the wood of the old Victory," was won by R Stewart Savile, 90-8-82. He was presented with the momento - a silver full size putter. 

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Early postcard of the corse.

Early postcard of The Golf Links "St Helen’s". Authors Collection.

 

In 1914 the club had a membership of 170. The entry fees were £3/3/0 and the subs £2/2/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, 10/- a week and 30/- a month. Sunday play was allowed with caddies after 1pm. The 9-hole course measured 2,901 yards. The Hotel Spithead was used as the headquarters of the Royal Isle-of-Wight Golf Club pre WW1. There were railway stations at St Helens and Bembridge which were both ½ mile away. Between April and October ladies were allowed to play but only if there handicap was 15 or less and then only after 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays on other weekdays from 4pm. During November and December they were allowed to play all day.

In 1922 the course had a course record of 71 and a  membership of 240. Visitors, from October 1st to May 31st paid, 2/6 a day, no introduction 4/- a day, 10/- a week, 30/- a month. From June 1st to September 30th, 4/- a day, 15/- a week, 40/- month. Sunday play was allowed after 1pm.

The Captain's Prize played in May 1923 was won by J Mellor (4) who defeated Dr. E Horsburgh by 5 and 4.

The following is a card of the course from the mid 1920s. The course was tweaked, and the names of the holes were changed later, but the length of the course remained the same, 2,901yds.

Hole Yards Name Bogey
1 448 Far Hole 5
2 155 Mill Dam 3
3 390 Church 4
4 304 Ferry 4
5 280 Quarry 4
6 380 Gap 4
7 137 Punchbowl 3
8 417 Fort 5
9 390 Column 5

In the 1930s the course had a SSS of 72. Sunday play was allowed after 10am.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver. Article from The Bystander October 1936.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helen's. Article from The Bystander October 1936.

From The Bystander October 21st 1936. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

The picture above ; Top row left to right - L H Campbell (captain); Major R S Savil (ex-captain); Comdr. L Foley (hon. treasurer); Col. E Morrison-Bell and Col. W A Murray.

Middle row – Terence Langrishe; Sir Hercules Langrishe; Sir Ralph Gore, Bt; Sir Charles Campbell, Bt; Capt. A Westmacott (ex-captain.

Bottom row – A S Gordon (ex hon. treasurer) and Col. K G Campbell (hon. secretary); J A Miller and J E Mellor; Major J M Reeves and G H Barnes (professional.) 

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, The Duver, St Helens. The golf course in the mid-1930s.

The golf course on a mid-1930s postcard.

 

From 1947 to the mid 1950s there was a membership of 100 rising to 160 in the 1950s. Course records were, amateur,  J E Mellor and S A Hayward 74 and professional, A Mitchell and G Duncan 68. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a round (3/6 in the 1950s), 10/- a week and 30/- a month. Sunday play was allowed. There was a bus service from Ryde and Sandown to within 5 minutes walk of the clubhouse.

Although it was recorded as being closed in 1961 it may have struggled on, as the last record appeared in 1965 when visitors’ fees were 3/6 a round, 10/- a week and 30/- a month. All other information as 1947.

The RIOW golf course can be seen on the Britain From Above link below.

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw042971?search=bembridge&ref=11

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Course layout.

Layout of the nine-hole course.

 

The RIOW golf course can be seen on the Britain From Above link below.

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw042971?search=bembridge&ref=11

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. The ninth green and clubhouse.

The ninth green and clubhouse.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Wills Cigarette Card.

W D & H O Wills RIOW Cigarette Card.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. The golf links.

Postcard "The Walk To The Golf Links"

 

Royal isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Location of the former course.

Location of the RIOW course.

Grid reference SZ63590,89160, co-ordinates 463590,089160.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Later image of the former course.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Later image of the former course.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Later image of the former course.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Later image of the former course.

 

Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, Bembridge. Later image of the former clubhouse.

Thanks to Tony Muldoon for the above recent pictures of the Bembridge course.

 

World War Two had a devastating effect on the club from which it never really recovered. The club finally closed in the 1960s. It was decided by remaining members that the links should be presented to the National Trust for preservation.