History of the Old Pauline Golf Society

For many years, it was assumed that the date of the foundation of the Society was 1912, as it was in this year that trophies were donated and there were no records showing any competitions or activities from previous years. However in 1983, John Garcia did some detailed research and came across an entry in the 14 May 1909 issue of Golf Illustrated which showed that 1912 was not correct. It read as follows:-
“An Old Pauline Golfing Society has been formed. Mr R H de Montmorency, the international golfer, has been elected captain. Mr Horace G Castle, an old international and a winner of the St George’s Vase, and Mr Sydney Chesterton, the well known Mid-Surrey player, who is an ex-Amateur Champion of France, are included in the committee. The Society can already form a team of ‘plus’ men.”

Reymond de Montmorency played for England in 1908 & 1911 and was in the British team against America at Hoylake in 1921(which led to the founding of the Walker Cup in 1922). He is shown to have had a handicap of +3 in 1907.

Horace Castle played for England in 1907/8 and had a handicap of +5 in 1907. In 1902, he won the St George’s Challenge Cup which is a major amateur event over 36 holes, and this might be regarded as the finest achievement by an OP golfer. In 1959, this cup was won by Jack Nicklaus. There were four ‘Castles’ playing in the first round of the Bewshar Cup in 1913, but none of them appear in the records after the First World War.

We are in 2018, still playing for the Walker Cup and the Bewshar Bowl which were donated in 1913. Unfortunately, the High Master’s Challenge Cup was reported stolen in 1982.

In representative matches, entering as St Paul’s, we first entered the Halford Hewitt in 1932. The event having started in 1924, it is now played for by sixty-four schools. In the early days, our team was regarded as easy meat by the stronger sides. However when we beat Charterhouse in 1954, Bernard Darwin referred to us as “humble St Paul’s” in his account of the match in The Times. Happily the team is no longer humble and we are able to field a much stronger side. The best performance was in 1980 when we lost in the quarter-finals. We have also reached the third round in 1934, 1939, 1947, 1954, 1989, 2009 & 2017. Analysis of players performance since 1962, show that Hugh Roberts has played in the competition for forty years, played 57 matches and has won 55% of them, a great record.

We also enter the Cyril Gray, first playing in 1971. Our best results have been in reaching the semi-finals in 1991 & 2010.

In the Grafton Morrish, we have to go back to 1992 for the last time we qualified from the Regional rounds for the finals in Norfolk.

We have played some of our matches for many years. We first played Old Uppinghamians in 1948 and perhaps the highlight of this fixture was in 2012. Desmond Kayton(OP) and Richard Griffiths(OU) were on the same fighter pilot training course in Canada in 1943/4. They next met again after 68 years at the lunch after the match! 1951 was the year we first played Fulwell Golf Club when Brian Simmonds was Society captain. We first played the Old Lawrentians in 1961.

Our 75th anniversary was celebrated with a dinner at The School on Friday 2nd November 1984. Peter Webster was Society Captain and the principal guests were Donald Steel & Bobbie Bridges. Our Centenary Dinner was held at the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club on Friday 12th June 2009. Charles Mathias was Society Captain and our main guest was Martin Christmas. As a further celebration of our Centenary, we played our Autumn Meeting at Woodhall Spar, the home of the EGU, over 2 nights.

The Society continues to be very active with four Meetings a year, playing eleven matches and entering teams in the Halford Hewitt, Cyril Gray, Grafton Morrish, Royal Wimbledon Putting and the Alba Trophy. In addition, we now have a two night holiday in September and an additional match against Old Uppinghamians with a one night stay.