SHORT HISTORY OF THE ESSEX GOLF UNION
1924: Inauguration: The Essex County Amateur Golf Union was inaugurated at a meeting of representatives from sixteen Clubs held at Romford Golf Club on 27th February 1924. All the Clubs in Essex, twenty-three in number, had previously been circulated.
The sixteen clubs were as follows: -
Bowers Gifford Frinton Monkhams Thorpe Hall
Boyce Hill Grays & Orsett Rochford 100 Wanstead
Chelmsford Hainault Forest Romford West Essex
Clacton-on-Sea Ilford Theydon Bois Woodford
The First Officers: The following were elected at the above meeting:
President: J. J. Esplen (Wanstead)
Vice-Presidents: H. Shaw (Romford) and G. E. Larman (Rochford Hundred)
Hon-Secretary: P. Kemp (Wanstead), Hon-Treasurer: J. J. Murray (Romford)
Bowers Gifford and Monkhams, two of the Clubs attending the inaugural meeting, are no longer in existence and Mersea Island, Naze, Nazeing, Lee Wick, Lee-over-Sands, Walthamstow, Highams Park, Bury, Little Warley and Creeksea Golf Clubs have also either become defunct or changed their names.
1924: The First Competition arranged by the Union was a 36 holes medal, which became the Essex Amateur Championship, and was open to all members of Essex Clubs with a handicap of 12 or under, and the winner of the scratch prize, Mr.C.Law (club unknown) was the first Essex Amateur Champion. The Essex Amateur Championship Cup was presented by Wm. J. Ralph, Esq., the Captain of Romford Golf Club, and the Esplen Challenge Trophy, for the Club Championship, by J. J. Esplen, Esq., O.B.E., Captain of Wanstead Golf Club and President of the Union. Both trophies were competed for in 1924. The Championship continued to be played over 36 holes until 1955 when it was decided over 72 holes.
It will be of interest to members to know that early Minutes of the Union Committee Meetings reveal that a number of famous people including Rt. Hon Sir Winston Churchill, M.P., T. A. Torrance (Captain Walker Cup Team), Bernard Darwin and the Lord Chief Justice were invited to the Annual Dinner on various occasions.
1925: The Junior Team Championship Trophy (now the Leslie F. Wood Team Championship) presented by Mrs. J. J. Esplen, was first competed for in 1925.
The annual Amateur v. Professionals match was first played at Thorndon Park on 28th March 1925.
1920/25: The Thornton Challenge Cup, for Club teams, was presented by Sir Henry W. Thornton of Great Eastern Railway in 1920, before the Union was in existence, and the competition, which was not restricted to Essex Clubs alone, was organised by a special committee. The first winners were Thorpe Hall Golf Club. In 1925 it was reported that the committee desired to hand over the trophy to be dealt with by Essex County Amateur Golf Union, and it was proposed to run the competition on the same lines as hitherto except that it would be open to all Essex Clubs in addition to those in Hertfordshire and Middlesex who had competed in the past. The Union arranged for the competition in four sections namely:
1. London and Suburbs 3. North Eastern Section
2. L.M.S. Section 4. Mid-Essex and Hertfordshire
However, at the A.G.M. of the Union on l7th February, 1927 it was decided that sectional play be discontinued and that all Clubs be put in the hat at the same time irrespective of their geographical position and that it should remain a scratch event.
1927: The Veterans Trophy was presented by Mr H. Shaw, Captain of Romford Golf Club in 1919-1920.
1929: The Mullis Foursomes was first played for the trophy presented by Mr F. Mullis of Romford Golf Club for competition by those who had not in that year represented their Clubs in the Thornton Cup, Junior Team Championship (now called the Leslie F. Wood Team Championship) or Foursomes Championship,
1932: The Foursomes Championship Trophies were presented by Mr G E Larman, of Rochford Hundred Golf Club in 1932 when the event was inaugurated and from then until 1967 it was a 36-hole knockout competition. In 1968 it was changed to a medal competition played over 36 holes.
1932: The Boys Championship was first played and the cup was presented by Mr T. Lloyd Evans (Wanstead) and Mr E. Cunningham (Chigwell) in 1933.
1939: The Herbert Bishop Vase was presented by Mr W. H. Bishop, of Mersea Island Golf Club to be competed for by Captains and Secretaries of Essex Golf Clubs and members of the County Executive Committee.
1951: The Youth Shield: Mrs. F. Howard Bell of Chigwell Golf Club always took an interest in junior boy’s golf and in 1951 her father, Mr H. H. Holmes, presented the Youth Shield.
1954: The Junior Club Team Trophy, played in conjunction with the Boys Championship, was presented by Mr. and Mrs. F. Howard Bell.
1959: The Chigwell Bowl, was presented by that Club on 25th April for annual competition at Chigwell G.C. open to all golfers under 25 years of age.
1963: The Upminster Bowl was presented by the then Captain of Upminster Golf Club, Mr L. Walmsley for the Essex Under Twenty-Five Championship.
1963: The Courage Invitation Trophy was presented by Messrs. Courage for an individual 36 holes scratch medal competition. Courage ceased their interest in 1997 but fortunately renewed it in 2001.
1970: The Keating Trophy was presented by Michael Keating (Wanstead) for Category One players, to be played as a scratch 36 hole qualifying round with the top 16 players competing at Match Play.
1971: The Associate County Membership Scheme was approved at a Special General Meeting in 1971 at Upminster Golf Club. The first competitions took place in 1972 when members competed for the Woodman Trophy and the Basildon Trophy. The former trophy was presented by Bill Woodman of Romford Golf Club and the latter trophy by Basildon Golf Club.
1974: The 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Union was celebrated by a Dinner attended, amongst others, by the Presidents of the Counties we had played against in the South Eastern League.
1975: The Romford Trophy was presented by Charles Olley and family for competition by Category One players.
1977: The Jubilee Trophy was presented by Eddie Sadler for the best score in the Essex Amateur Championship by a player aged under 21 years.
1984 & 1987: In both years Eddie White (Romford) won the Individual Members prize and, with the then President, David Robson, the Team event of the Individual Membership Scheme, run by the English Golf Union.
1988: The Under-16 Championship Trophy was presented by Dennis Cule Smith, (Thorpe Hall), County President in 1982 and 1985.
1994: The Faldo Wedge: Nick Faldo donated a set of his clubs to the Golf Foundation with the request that they be used to raise money for that body. Several counties bought one of these clubs and Essex obtained a pitching wedge, which has been competed for each year since then by teams of Junior golfers. The entry fees are donated to the Foundation.
1995: The Rules of Golf Presentations were first introduced by Executive Committee member Allan Lockwood.
1996: The Fred Stillwell Trophy was donated by this Past President of the Union for a handicap competition for Boys aged under 14 years. It is played annually at his Club, Maylands.
1996: The Scratch League was initiated by Executive Committee member Michael Spall (Royal Epping Forest).
1996: The Boys Foursomes Championship was introduced by the Boys Committee and a Trophy was presented in 1997 by Theydon Bois Golf Club to commemorate the Club's Centenary year.
1997: The Seniors Championship was introduced for golfers over 50, and Chelmsford Golf Club donated the Chelmsford Challenge Trophy in 1998.
1999: The County Union celebrated the 75 years of its existence on 21st May with a Jubilee Dinner at Stock Brook Manor Golf Club. 110 golfers attended the dinner from the 75 affiliated Golf Clubs. Also in attendance, representing the English Golf Union, were the President, Peter Wilson and the Secretary, Paul Baxter. Representatives from several South-Eastern County Unions were also in attendance.
2000: Freehold premises purchased at 2d Maldon Road, Witham.
2000: The Colts Championship was initiated for golfers under 21 years. Played in conjunction with the Chigwell Bowl (see 1959) a Trophy was donated by Chigwell Golf Club to mark the 75th anniversary of its foundation.
2001: The Upminster Trophy was presented by Past Captain of Upminster Golf Club, and Union Executive Committee member, Roger Walmsley. It is to be played for by golfers aged 25 and over in conjunction with the Upminster Bowl for players under 25 which was presented by his father, Mr L. Walmsley, in his Captain's year of 1963.
2001: The Under-14 Championship Trophy was presented by Past President Ted Gaffney, to provide a worthy prize for the Scratch event run in conjunction with the Fred Stillwell Trophy for boys under 14.
2001: The Essex Inter-County Card Scheme was introduced by the President John Day. to provide discounted golf for Club members who become cardholders. This is available at the majority of Essex affiliated Clubs and several neighbouring counties.
2002: The Allan Lockwood Trophy was presented by this Past President of the Union, to be played as an Individual Match Play competition.
2003: Agreed at the Annual General Meeting that the name of the union be changed to Essex Golf Union.
2006: Agreement signed with the Essex Ladies County Golf Association to run a joint Mens and Ladies Inter-County Card.
2007: The Norman Plum Trophy was initiated for category 3 and 4 golfers.
2008: The Under 12 Championship was introduced. A handicap competition was also introduced to run in conjunction with this event, and was named the Brian Fuller Trophy to honour this member of the Executive Committee, for his dedication to junior golf in Essex.
2010: It was agreed that the best form of organisation for the Essex Golf Union was that of a company limited by guarantee. The Essex Golf Union Limited was registered with Companies House and all assets of the Essex Golf Union were transferred to the Essex Golf Union Ltd.
2015: County Player of the Year Trophy Award was introduced by President Mike Hart, to be presented each year at the County Dinner. To be the President’s choice of best County Player each year.
2015: Past President - John Peters was elected to the Board of Directors of England Golf.