WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 1892 and following a big storm on the preceeding days, the links at Milntown Flat was covered by a thin layer of snow and temperatures were at or below freezing. The invitation to selected guest players from all corners of the Island had been dispatched by the newly elected secretary, Mr JM Cruickshank. Play was due to commence at 10.30am and luncheon would be at 12.30pm. Despite the inclement weather there was a goodly number of members assembled. As invited visitors had been delayed, the members chose playing partners among themselves. The President, General Brereton, as per invitation, struck the first ball at 10.30am. Justice done to luncheon By noon the train carrying the visitors had arrived at Milntown Crossing from where they were escorted by members to Milntown House. A luncheon, courtesy of the kindness of Mr Bruce, was provided and the contemporary newspaper report noted that it was ‘done justice to’. Following appropriate toasts and responses, the members and their guests braved the cold and heavy snow showers to play on the partly thawed 12 hole course. Best amateur score was returned by Mr A Weir from Aberdeen with 75, however as he was not a member of any insular links, the prize for the lowest score, a handsome driver, was shared between Mr Baron and Mr Cruickshank, both with 85. It is not known who eventually took sole possession of the driver or if they shared its use. The report in the Isle of Man Times further notes that several lady members and friends had appeared on the links during the day, however the weather prevented them from playing or staying long. Best round of the day was by a Professional listed as ‘Vardon’, returning a gross 60. The initial of the player is not recorded. However research shows that there were three Vardons who became professional golfers in that era, three brothers from Jersey. The youngest was Alfred, Tom was the middle brother and Henry was the oldest. Alfred was born in 1881 and unlikely to have turned pro aged 10, Tom was born 1872 and did not turn professional until 1893. It is therefore certain that the professional who turned in the round of 60 that day was Henry (right). The Vardons Henry or ‘Harry’ Vardon as he was known, had just given up his amateur status at the age of 20 and was destined to become one of the greatest players of his day. He was four years away from the first of his six Open wins. Alfred (right) was later to continue the Vardon connection with the Isle of Man when, in 1902, he moved from Timperley Golf Club to Douglas having accepted the invitation of the Port-e-Chee links owner, Mr George Drinkwater, to become the professional at the course. On his first round he established a new course record when playing in an exhibition match against one of the country’s top amateurs of the time, TP Crowther, Hoylake. Crowther held the amateur course record, 74. The outcome was that Vardon won on the 17th and completed the round in 72. Harry Vardon, by now winner of five Open Championships and the US Open, returned to the Isle of Man in 1912 when, along with the current World Champion, Ted Ray, he played in an exhibition match organised to celebrate the formal opening of the newly extended Port Erin course and the new pavilion. The course had been increased from nine to 18 holes in 1905, the 1912 extension added some 1000 yards to the course length. Both shot rounds of 71, two under the course bogey score. Ted Ray was another Jersey man. He had just won the Open and was destined to win the US Open in 1920. In 2005 Walt Disney made a film entitled ‘Greatest Game Ever Played’, the subject was the 1913 US Open when Ray, Vardon and the eventual winner, Francis Ouimet, tied for the title after four rounds. The 20 year old amateur, Ouimet, eventually prevailed in play-off.
 1892 The first Club competition
 RAMSEY GOLF CLUB, BROOKFIELD, RAMSEY, ISLE OF MAN, BRITISH ISLES IM8 1AA Telephone: Secretary 01624 812244. Professional 01624 814736. email: ramseygolfclub@manx.net