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Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenberg) Golf Club. (1903 - WW1)

Visit of James Tabor, St. Andrews professional, in April 1903.


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenburg) Golf Club. Report on the visit of James Tabor in April 1903.

Dundee Courier Friday 3 April 1903. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


In May 1903 the Grand Duke Michael of Russia, an enthusiastic golfer, had become president of the Lucerne Golf Club.

Lucerne Golf Club was founded on 26 June 1903 mainly catering for the English and American tourists. A nine-hole course was opened on the Sonnenberg. "The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf" described the course as "romantic, picturesque and unique". However, due to the narrow and sometimes steep terrain, permanent prospects of golf at this location above Kriens seemed destined to failure.

In May 1903 the Grand Duke Michael of Russia, an enthusiastic golfer, had become president of the Lucerne Golf Club. 


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenburg) Golf Club, Switzerland. The new golf course at Lucerne in 1903.

The Tatler Wednesday 30 September 1903. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


It was reported in August 1904 that the club was to hold a Swiss Championship in September. Entries were to be sent to the secretary Mr S Herbert Marsh, Hotel Sonnenburg.

The result of the championship can be seen below.


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenburg) Golf Club, Switzerland. Result of the Championship September 1904.

From the London Evening Standard 16 September 1904. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


The Lucerne championship was played again in September 1905. A E Reid from Bulwell in Nottingham who was now attached to the Lucerne club won the competition. Play was four times round the nine-hole course and Reid scored 38-39-37-41 for a total of 155 which beat the bogey by nine strokes. B Callaway, Cannes, was second with 168. Two amateurs competed, C W Trask of Bath, the old Somerset cricketer, finished fifth with 174, and A H Crossfield, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, sixth 177. Lady Margaret Hamilton Russell presented the prizes and she herself was among the winners as, beside the Ladies’ Championship, she secured the Lloyd Challenge Cup and the Colburn Challenge Trophy.

It seems that from September 1906 the Autumn meeting was for amateur golfers.

In August 1909 a dinner party was held at the Grand Hotel National by the Lucerne Golf Club, in honour of Mr Richard Winch a former captain of the Royal Blackheath Golf Club who was staying at Lucerne with his family.

Nisbet’s Golf Year Book from 1912 gives the following impressive description of the course “The headquarters of the club are in Lucerne. The course is in a beautiful and commanding situation, with a view over the Lake of Lucerne and the Alps, which surround the lake from Rigi on the east to Pilatus on the west. The course itself is distinctly sporting, and about 2.500 yards in length, the longest hole being over 500 yards, the shortest about 170 yards. The lie of the ground is very undulating and the grass excellent. The greens are always in good order, even in times of drought.”


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenburg) Golf Club, Switzerland. The golf course in winter.

The Golf Links in Winter. Images from the Christoph Meister archive.


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenburg) Golf Club, Switzerland. Hotel Sonnenburg 1910.

The Hotel Sonnenburg on a 1910 postcard.


Due to WW1 and the inevitable lack of visitors the game of golf had a premature end on the Sonnenberg. The fairways were transformed and used as farmland, while the once luxurious Hotel Sonnenberg was used for internees brought in from France and Belgium.


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenberg) Golf Club. Course location.

Location of the Sonnenburg course.


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenberg) Golf Club. The course.

Postcard of the Lucerne course.


Lucerne (Luzern Sonnenberg) Golf Club. Golf links advert.

Advert showing the location of the golf course and the steep terrain.


In 1921 golf restarted in Lucerne at Dietschiberg. Initially playing over 9-holes the course was later extended to 18-holes and this is the home of the present Lucerne Golf Club.