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Prince's Golf Club, Mitcham, Surrey.

The exact foundation date has still to be confirmed, some reference books say late 1880s , others early 1890s. The Ladies Club was founded in 1894. Prince's was an exclusive club and was often used by leading politicians of the day, as were the courses of Tooting Bec and Ranelagh, both now long gone. Prince's at Mitcham was owned by Sir Henry Mallaby-Deeley who had also established the Prince's course at Sandwich.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century many clubs played their golf over common land. With this came the usual problem of the general public using the land for their recreation, and the golfers, often in their distinguishing coloured jackets, trying to avoid them.  The Prince's club, situated on Mitcham was no exception. In 1907 an Artisan club was formed known as the Mitcham Village Club, this club was only allowed access to the course at certain times. The Mitcham Villagers eventually bought about a successful lawsuit giving the public a right to play golf on Mitcham Common.

Prince's ceased to exist as a private club in 1925 when it was opened to the general public. It's nowadays a combination of the Mitcham Club and the Mitcham Village Golf Club.

The Princes Club’s Open Competition. The following report can be attributed to the London Standard of the 25th May 1894, a fine example of reporting and of golf of that time “An open scratch competition for amateurs was not calculated to get so large an entry as might reasonably be looked for in a handicap; but the candidature for the Prince’s fixture at Mitcham yesterday fully realised expectations; whilst the names of many of those who entered are, to the average golfer, as familiar as household words. The first couple started shortly after 11.30 am; and so strongly was the east wind in evidence that it was soon seen the scores would thereby suffer. Such proved to be the case; as, whilst Mr Horace G Hutchinson ultimately won with 91, the club’s bogey score is 87. In justice to the winner, however, it should be stated that he had very bad luck on the outward half, and was all but giving up in despair; but on the way home he played grandly, and came in 41, which is three strokes better than bogey (44) for the last nine holes. All the players suffered more or less from the wind, which was very irksome. Mr J R Hutchison (the club captain) did 47 for the outward half, despite his repeatedly being in trouble. Still, he looked like taking a place in the first three until approaching the 17th hole, when he came to grief. Mr Pinkerton did 46 going out; and, as will be seen, the Tooting Bec Club’s representative eventually secured second place, only one stroke behind the winner. Captain Cowper Coles, who went round in 86 on Wednesday made no return. Amongst others whose cards were not handed in were those of Mr S Muir-Ferguson, who simply gave up in disgust with himself, the wind, and his bad luck. Mr Cox, the hon secretary, made the most perfect arrangements, and is taking extra special pains in that department in view of the professional match between Douglas Rolland and Taylor today. It may be added that the competition now under notice is the first ever organised by the Prince’s club, which is, probably, a unique body in that it has no monthly medal, the members being content with friendly foursomes, private matches and practise play. They play over the course as lords of the manor (having bought out the latter body), the Conservators in return undertaking to protect their greens. To bring the club to its present state of convenience and perfection a substantial outlay was incurred. The name “Princes” to such an organisation is obviously no misnomer. The prize offered in the competition now referred to consisted of a magnificent silver cup presented by the club, the entrance fee forming three sweepstake prizes – one of £2/9s/6d for the winner, £1/8s/0d for the second and 14/- for the third”

Following are the scores; Mr Horace G Hutchinson, Prince’s, 91; Mr T R Pnkerton, Tooting Bec, 92; Dr Bruce Goff, St Andrew’s, 94; Mr R Lawson, Epsom, 95; Mr E Lehmann, Jersey, 95; Mr C E Hambro, Cambridge University, 100; Mr J R Hutchison, Prince’s, 101; Mr G Garden-Smith, Neasden, 102; Captain D A Kinloch, Prince’s, 105; Mr W J Mure, Prince’s, 106; Mr Ponsonby, Ascot, 109; Mr E J Woodward, Neasden, 112. Mr S Muir Ferguson, Prince’s, Mr F E Faithful, Royal Wimbledon, Captain Cowper Coles, Neasden, and Mr F H A Booth, Epsom, had no returns.

A remarkable 2,000 spectators followed the 36 hole professional match referred to in the above report between Douglas Rolland and J H Taylor. It was a thrilling game which Taylor eventually won by 3&1.

In November 1894 a ladies scratch competition was held. There were 22 entries, result; Miss A Pascoe, 85; Mrs Cameron, 85; Miss L Thomson, 86; Miss F Herbert, 87; Miss M Rostrom, 92; Mrs A King, 96.

In November 1896 J H Taylor was back to take on J White, the Prince’s club professional. The prize was 10/- donated by members of the Prince’s club. The scores for the 36 holes were level, Taylor, 79 and 83, total 162 and White, 84 and 78, total 162. Presumably the purse was shared.

The Prince's Ladies Club Open Autumn Meeting was held on Thursday 12th November 1896. Over 70 players took part on a course that was in splendid condition, the weather was glorious. The arrangements were made by the hon secretary, Miss Grace Langley, the competition proved to be a great success. Miss Pascoe, the Prince’s Lady Champion had a disappointing day with a score of 82. Mrs Harry Stewart put in a fine performance, winning with a score of 72, unlike her playing partner on the day, Miss Issette Pearson of Wimbledon, who like many other famous players failed to do themselves justice. The Hon Mrs W Rowley, President of the Prince’s Club presented the prizes, results; 18 hole medal scratch, Mrs Harry Stewart, Prince’s, 72; Mrs Worsson, Enfield, 73; Miss M Rostron, Prince’s, 75; Mrs Cameron, Wimbledon, 77; Miss M E Phillips, Prince’s, 80; Mrs Ryder Richardson, Eastbourne, 80; Mrs Pakenham Lawrell, Prince’s 81, Miss Langley, Prince’s, 81; Miss Pascoe, Prince’s, 82, Miss Marion Langley, Prince’s, 86; Miss Rutter, Prince’s, 86. Best nine holes; Mrs Harry Stewart, Mrs Worsson and Miss Rostron were equal at 35. Long-driving prize, Miss Eachus, Enfield, 128 yards, Miss Starkie Bence, Royal Eastbourne, 127 yards, Miss M Langley, Prince’s, 125 yards.

Parliamentary Tournament ties held in March 1897. Mr C Guy Pymm MP and Sir W Houldsworth, Bart played their first round match at Mitcham, Mr Pymm won 8&6. There was a closer contest between General Sir J B Edwards MP and Mr George Whiteley MP, the former winning 2up.

In the ladies open tournament in November 1897 Miss H Chapman and Miss M Rostron tied for the scratch prize. They tied again in the first play off, when they met again Miss Chapman won with a score of 81.

The Parliamentary Tournament, ties played at Prince’s in April 1898. The Earl of Dudley (handicap 6) beat Mr F Platt Higgins MP (14) by 4&3. Other matches played at Mitcham; Sir William H Houldsworth MP (18) beat Mr J Bigwood MP (11) 2&1; the Earl of Kinnoul (10) beat Sir John Lubbock MP (24) 3&1; Mr Frederick W Fison MP (14) beat Mr C Guy Pymm MP (4) 2&1; Mr H J Tollemache MP (2) beat Mr Herbert Gladstone MP (5) 4&3; Earl of Chesterfield (5) beat Mr J A Pease MP (12) 8&7; Lord George Hamilton MP (14) beat General Russell MP (20) 8&7; Mr H Seton-Karr MP (5) and Mr J Rutherford MP halved; Mr J S Robb, Press Gallery (9) beat Mr G C Whiteley MP (16) 4&3.

Below is the result of a ladies match played against Mid Surrey at Richmond in November 1898.

Mid Surrey Ladies   Prince's Ladies  
Miss Sparrow 0 Miss Pascoe 8
Mrs Worssom 1 Miss Armstrong 0
Miss C Morgan 0 Miss Blanche Anderson 1
Miss A Roberts 0 Mrs Stanley Stubbs 1
Miss E Morgan 2 Miss Marion Langley 0
Mrs Vertue 0 Hon Maude Lawrence 3
Mrs Craven 0 Miss Langley 1
Mrs Reynolds 1 Mrs Gordon Robertson 0
  4   14

Prince's won the singles by 10 holes, they also won the foursomes by the same margin.

Result of the ladies’ medal December 1898; Miss Blanche Anderson, 86 scratch; Miss Pascoe, 87+1-88; Miss Sparrow, 93 scratch; Mrs Wollersea, 98-5-93; Mrs George, 106-7-99; Mrs Gordon Robertson, 102-3-99. The medal for players exceeding 12 handicap was won by Miss Dorothy Asbury, 131-22-109.

On Wednesday 5th April 1899 Philip Wynne, who had recently took over as professional from Jack White at Prince’s, played his first important match on the course against James Braid. A 36 hole contest they eventually managed to finish on exactly the same score, a two round total of 164.

On Tuesday 16th May 1899 the Prince’s Ladies Club began their three day Spring Meeting. Miss Blanch Anderson with 85+5-90 won the best gross. For the first and second division handicap prizes; the following six players tied on 91 net in the first division; M E Phillips, Miss Amy Pascoe, Mrs Cameron, Miss Sant, Mrs Hannaford and Mrs Hassard; second  division; Miss Asbury, 107-16-91, tied for second were Mrs Greig and Mrs Rickards 92 net. The putting competition also ended in a tie, Miss Pascoe and Mrs Dowson, 20 each.

In May 1900 at the club’s spring meeting the Kennard Gold Medal for the best scratch score was won by Mr C Scott Chadd with 86. Mr Scott Chadd also won the Challenge Silver Salver and Club Prize, value £10 for the best net score of 79. Other scores; J Crichton Stuart, 96-14-82; D D Pontifex, 88-5-83; S F Coventry, 92-8-84; Percy Dawson, 99-14-85; E P Lucas, 93-7-86; G W Cox, 104-18-86; C E Farmer, 100-14-86; F Eaterbrook, 89-3-86; H F Lawford, 87 scratch; R M Harvey, 105-18-87; P Bryland, 100-12-88, F Gurney Fox, 101-12-89, H L Boyd, 93-4-89; Dr Darra Mair, 107-18-89; F C Rutter, 96-6-90; J M Fletcher, 106-16-90.

 

Prince's Golf Club, Mitcham, Surrey. The Ladies' Clubhouse.

Above is the pre-WW1 Mitcham Common Ladies' Clubhouse. S & W Series Postcard. Authors Collection.

 

In 1906 the secretary was H Mallaby-Deeley, Mitcham Court, Surrey and the professional James Hearn. An 18 hole course. Course records were, amateur H Hutchinson 72 and professional A Belworthy 73. Visitors had to be introduced by a member in person, and be accompanied by them. There were green fees but no temporary membership. Green fees were 2/6 a day.

In 1914 the professional was still James Hearn who continued until the clubs closure. Entry fees were £15/15/0 and Subs £5/5/0. There was now a membership of 900, this must be a combined figure including lady members as the ladies golf club mentioned in 1906/1913 no longer appeared. Visitors were only allowed when accompanied by a member. Sunday play was not allowed.

From 1906 to 1913 at the Princes Ladies Club. Telephone Croydon 614. Stated at this time as being founded in 1894. The secretary was Miss Langley, 31 Queens Gate Terrace. SW. The "Instructor" was a Mrs Gordon Robertson. There was a membership of 350. A well kept course which had natural hazards consisting of gorse, water, gravel banks and bunkers. The longest hole called “Excelsior” was particularly good, the green was on a plateau and was guarded by a sand bunker. Visitors who lived in the neighbourhood of Mitcham paid 5/- a week.

 

Prince's Golf Club, Mitcham, Surrey. Location of the ladies' golf course.

Plan showing the site of the Ladies course at Prince’s; this course was in existence until WW2. The "Gentlemen's" course to the north is still going strong.

 

The green arrow on the Google Map below pinpoints the former Ladies' course.