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Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club, Bembridge. (1893 - WW1)

The club was instituted on October 2nd 1893.

Ladies were not admitted to the (Royal) Isle of Wight Golf Club in the early 1890s, so the ladies on the Island created their own (originally nine) eighteen-hole course near Bembridge Harbour. The course was considered by many as being as good, if not better, than the more famous nine-hole course on the Duver. 

The following is an extract from a report that appeared in The Isle of Wight Observer on Saturday 7th October 1893. "The many attractions of the " Royal and Ancient" game of golf have proved too strong for the ladies of the Island. To make it as inclusive as possible they have chosen for themselves the name of "The Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club." It is only two or three weeks ago since some ladies met at Bembridge, when they determined to found such a club, and from the support received from all parts, surely they well judged the want of an institution of the kind in the Island, for within this short space of time upwards of 50 ladies have enrolled their names on the list of members. Certainly they are reaping the reward of their pluck, and under such encouragement they must advance to the highest point of success. The club must take a leading place. On Monday 2nd inst. the formal opening took place on the Harbour Links, at Bembridge, in the presence of many ladies and gentlemen, when at the request of the amiable and popular captain of the club (Mrs Macdonald Moreton), the Hon. Mrs Ward drove the first ball. Among those present were; Lady Hammond Graeme, Miss Daly, Mr & Mrs Arbuthnot, Colonel and Mrs Macdonald Moreton, Mr & Mrs Perrott, Mrs Murray, Mrs Hutt, Mr & Mrs Latimer Le Marchant, Mr & Mrs Leveson, Dr Ryder, Mr & Mrs Tabuteu, Colonel & Mrs Cuthell, Mr & Mrs Huish, Mrs Ingleby Mackenzie, Mr Gerard Fox, Captain & Mrs Murray, Mrs Evelyn Rich, Rev E Howard Francis. Interesting games were then played, and refreshment and sweet music by the Al Frescos followed. The able committee of the club have spared no pains to make as complete as possible all arrangements, and aided by their energetic hon. sec. Mrs Joseph Denison. and hon. treasurer, Miss Fisher, great progress has been made. A professional for the uninitiated is always in attendance. A comfortable, though unpretending, pavilion has been erected on the links, which are only a few minutes walk from either St Helen's or Bembridge railway stations. A staff of ladies has been organised, and every kind of club or ball can be purchased from Mr Tolmie, the renowned professional of the Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, whose links are close by. In conclusion, it must be added that the Club is indebted for the excellent ground they are allowed to play on to the House and Land Investment Trust Company."


Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club. Location of the course in 1898.

The location of the ladies' course and pavilion at Home Farm, Bembridge, is marked in the centre of the above map. Reproduced from the {1898} Ordnance Survey Map.


The first competition was played on  and the Harbour Links on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday  January 4th 1894. Unfortunately the weather was really bad with a gale from the east and north east sweeping across the links on both days and prevented many members from competing. On the first day the captain's (Mrs Macdonald Moreton) prize, a beautiful ostrich feather fan, was won by Miss Henry, and the second prize, presented by Mrs Tabuteau, was won by Mrs G H Harrison. Scores; Miss Henry, 97-10-87; Mrs G H Harrison, 124-36-88; Miss Fisher, 102-10-92; Mrs L Le Marchant107-10-97; Miss G Fairlie Cunninghame, 125-28-97; Mrs Bingley, 125-18-107; Miss Moreton, 145-36-109. Miss V Fairlie Cunninghame and Miss H Morton, no return.


Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club. Club button.

Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club button. Image courtesy Dixon Pickup.


On the second day an interesting game was played in couples, composed of members and of gentlemen of the Royal Isle of Wight Club for a prize of "pair of silver muffineers (sugar or salt shaker)" presented by Miss Fisher the hon, treasurer, scores; Mrs G Bulkley and W F Fisher, 114-19-95; Mrs Bingley and Lord Granville Gordon, 112-14-98; Mrs L Le Marchant and Rev L Porter, 110-8-102; Mrs G H Harrison and Colonel Moreton, 128-24-104. Miss Henry and Mr Wilson, no return.

Following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Isle of Wight Observer on Saturday 22nd September 1894. "The Ladies Isle of Wight Golf Club has received a great impetus by the gracious acceptance of the Captaincy by Princess Henry of Battenburg, so that it will now style itself the Royal Isle of Wight Ladies Golf Club."

Interesting reporting style of the time from The Isle of Wight Observer Saturday 20th October 1894. "Ladies Golf at Bembridge The Gentlewoman gives the following account of the Ladies' Golf Club. The article is illustrated with capital portraits of Miss Mabel Fisher (hon. treasurer), Mrs Palmer (winner of the putting competition), and Mrs Denman Murray (hon. secretary) - The members of the Ladies' Isle of Wight Golf Club, of which H.R.H. Princess Beatrice is the hon. captain, celebrated its anniversary day on Tuesday October 2nd, by giving a garden party on their prettily situated links at Bembridge. The day was delightfully fine, if somewhat cold, and the many visitors took the keenest interest in watching a "putting" competition. There were about 40 entries for this, and the finish was most exciting. At eight yards there were only two left competing, Mrs Palmer and Mrs Hamilton; at 14 yards, however, Mrs Hamilton missed the second stroke, and Mrs Palmer very successfully holed the put, winning the prize of offered by the club, a hand-mirror with a chased silver back. During the afternoon tea, coffee, and dainty delectables were served in a marquee, which was thrown open to the visitors; in fact the members did everything to make the day an enjoyable one. Amongst the members and guests noticed were; Mrs Morton (acting captain), Miss Mabel Fisher (hon. treasurer). She wore a black serge skirt with a double-breasted red coat, the latter is the club regulation coat, and looks very smart. Mrs Denman Murray (hon. secretary) was in a black coat and skirt, with the club colours, red and white, as a hat band and tie. Mrs Le Marchant, wore a white drill dress with the regulation coat. Mrs Palmer wore an effective costume of black sailcloth with sleeves and revers of black moire antique and a vest of blue silk; her toque hat was trimmed with blue choux and feathers. Mrs Brett looked exceedingly nice in heather coloured cloth with a blue silk vest. Mrs Bulkeley looked well in a black and white check costume. Other ladies in attendance; Miss Manning, Mrs Beecher, Mrs Thellusson, Mrs Lovell, Mrs Blair Cochrane, Mrs & Miss Cuthell, Miss Cunninghame. With many of the costumes a golf cloak was worn or carried."  

The club held their Spring meeting during Easter week in April 1895. On the Monday the scratch prize was presented by Mrs Bingley; first handicap prize presented by Captain du Bolay; second handicap prize presented by Mrs Howard; leading (net) scores - Miss M Thornycroft, 114-36-78; Miss Isabel Ward (scratch winner), 92-10-82; Mrs F W Bush, 117-36-81; Miss Fane, 109-25-84; Mrs Becher, 99-12-87; Miss Maud Sale, 126-36-90; Mrs L Le Marchant, 103-10-93; Miss Knox, 129-36-93; Miss Jessie Gordon, 117-21-96; Miss Fisher, 102-5-97; Mrs Howard Brooke, 111-13-98. The following were either over 100 net or had no returns; Mrs J F C Hamilton, Miss E Moreton, Miss Dudley Ward, Miss B Thornycroft, Miss Cozens, Miss Low, Miss H Moreton, Miss Roscow Shedden, Miss Barry, Miss V Browne and Miss Livingstone.

The winners of the mixed foursomes played over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were Mrs Becher and Captain Becher who beat Miss Cozens and Mr Knight in the final. The prize was presented by Mrs Sydney Hoare.

It was also reported in April 1895 that the club had recently obtained a lease on the links and the committee hoped that funds would permit the club to extend the course from nine to eighteen-holes.   

The annual general meeting was held in October 1895. It was stated that membership had increased from 85 to 101 and the club was financially stable. Mrs Oglander of Nunwell Park, was elected Captain; Miss Fane, treasurer and Mrs Tabuteau, secretary,

At the Whitsun meeting held in June 1900 the following played in the match play competition; Mrs Fraser (7), Miss V Browne (24), Mrs Le Marchant (4), Miss Pigou (6), Miss Barry (24), Miss Lanphier (14), Miss Alexander (20), Miss Jacob (4), Miss Sale (20), Miss L Browne (14) and Miss Hunter (23). In the final Mrs Le Marchant beat Miss Browne at the 19th hole.

The Isle of Wight Ladies Golf Club in 1902. The secretary was M Tabuteau, Woodlands, Bembridge and the professional J B Daish. Course records, amateur Mrs Le Marchant and Miss L Browne 81 and professional, Bertie Daish 62. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day.

In October 1903 The Hampshire Ladies' Open Championship Cup was played at Haslar and was won by Miss E Hull, of the Royal Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club.

The following is taken from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1893; 18-holes, par 79; Membership of 100; Hon, Secretary, Mrs J Lee White, Seafield, Ryde; Captain, Miss Hull; Entrance fee £1/1s and Subs £1/10s; Professional, B Daish; Amateur Lady Record, Miss Hull, 79; Professional Record, B Daish, 64; Terms for visitors, 1/- a round. "This is a very pretty little course, and is especially adapted for ladies. The majority of holes being short with reasonable carries over natural bunkers, burns, etc. There is a very comfortable clubhouse, with gentlemen's room attached - gentlemen being allowed to play if accompanied by a lady."      

The following details are taken from the 1909/10 Golfing Annual and were sent to us by Dixon Pickup. Hon. secretary, Mrs J L White, Seafield, Ryde; The captain was Miss Sale and the professional C V Scott. Entrance fee was £1/1s and subs £1/10s. Number of members, 100. Club prizes - Open Meeting, March 9th and 10th; Porteous Bowl (handicaps to 12), Easter Monday; Scratch Bowl, Christmas and Boxing Day. Prize winners in 1909; Porteus Bowl, Miss J Gordon; Scratch Bowl, Miss Buck. Record score in a club competition, 71 by Mrs J L White on June 22nd and November 23rd, 1908. Green records - professional, C V Scott, 61. The course of eighteen-holes varying from 97 to 287 yards (circuit 3,607 yards) is on the Harbour Links, with hazards of whins, rushes, a burn, pond, etc. There is a small pavilion. Visitors' fees, 2/- a day, 7/6 a week, 12/- a fortnight and 15/- a month. Men are not allowed to play unless with a lady, except in July, August and September.    

In April 1913 the monthly medal was won by Mrs Lushington, 91-12-79.

In the final of the Captain's Prize in December 1913 Miss J Gordon beat Miss Black-Barnes by 3 and 2.  

The Isle of Wight Ladies' Golf Club disappeared at the onset of WW1.

The Google Map below shows the location of the former course.