Bernard Darwin – On Sandwich

The Royal St George's Golf Club

Bernard Darwin – On Sandwich

Bernard Darwin (7 September 1876 – 18 October 1961)

A grandson of the British naturalist Charles Darwin was a great golf writer and high-standard amateur golfer.He wrote extensivley about the golf courses in the UK publishing books and for The Times, London.

Some extracts from “The Golf Courses of the British Isles” by Bernard Darwin

Originally Published 1910

On Royal St George’s Golf Club

One great characteristic-I think it is a beauty-of Sandwich is the extraordinary solitude that surrounds the individual player.

For a course that it still comparitively young – the club was instituted in 1887 – Sandwich has more that it’s share of up and downs. It was heralded with much blowing of trumpets and without undergoing any period of probation, burst full fledge into fame.

Sandwich has a charm that belongs to itself and I frankly own myslef under the spell. The long stip of turf on the way to the seventh hole, that stretches between the sand hills and the sea; a fine spring day with the larks signing as they seem to sing nowhere else; the sun shining on the waters of Pegwell Bay and lighting up the white cliffs in the distance; this is as nearly my idea of Heaven as is to be attained on any earthly links.

One great characteristic-I think it is a beauty-of Sandwich is the extraordinary solitude that surrounds the individual player. We wind about in the dells and hollows amoung great hills, alone in the midts of a multitude, and hardly ever realize that there are others playing on the links until we meet them at luncheon. Thus, on the first tee, we may catch a glimpse of somebody playing the last hole, and another couple disappearing over the brow to the second, and that is all; the rest is sandhills and solitude.

1st Hole

And now we must positively cease from our reflections and get off that first tee, with a fine raking shot that shall carry us over the insidious and fatal little hollow called the ‘kitchen.’ If we are clear of it, another good shot will take us home over a deep cross-bunker onto the the green, big, smooth, and beautiful, as are all the greens at Sandwich.

2nd Hole

At the second we have a bunker to carry from the tee-it was sometimes a terrible carry for a gutty ball-and then a pitch to a plateau green, the sides whereof slope down steeply into hollow on either side.

3rd Hole – Sahara (originally a Par 4)

When a name clings to a hole we may be sure that there is something in that hole to stir the pulse, and in fact there are few more joys than a perfectly hit shot that carries the heaving waste of sand that confronts us on the third tee.

4th Hole

On the very next tee another bunker of terrible aspect lies before us, this time a towering mountain of sand, and the ball is soon out of sight. However, at the second shot we get a good view of the green away in the distance perched on a plataeu hard up against a fence. It is a really grand two shot hole.

5th Hole (originally a Par 3)

At the fifth the sandhills begin to close in upon us, but a fairly straight drive should land the ball safely in the valley;this hole is now in the melting pot, and is being transformed from a three to a four.

6th Hole – The Maiden

Few bunkers have a more infamous reputation than this Maiden, but the new-comer to the Sandwich of today will think that she has done little to deserve it. There stands the Maiden, steep sandy, and terrible, with her face scarred and seamed with black timbers, but alas! we no longer have to driver over her crown: we hadly do more than skirt the fringe of her garment. In teh old days the tee was right beneath the highest pinnacle, and sheer terror made the shot formidable, but the tee-shots to the fifth endagered the lives of those drving to teh sixth, and the tee had to be put away to the right.

8th Hole – Hades (originally a Par 3)

Hades will, no doubt, deserves its name if we top our tee shot, though otherwise it is a reasonably easy three.

9th Hole – Corsets

The ninth is in reality a far more formidable affair. The hole will doubtless be called the Corsets for ever, but the second of these famous bunkers now plays but an inconsiderable part, for the reformers have moved the green far on and away to the left and, it must be admitted, have made a good hole. We may still drive into the first Corset, however, and if we do, heaven help us! We shall be playing a night-mare game of racquets against its unflinching sides, and the other man will win the hole.

14th Hole – Suez

One hole on the back nine, at least, deserves a special word of mention, the fouteenth, or “Suez Canal,” where many a second shot has met a watery grave.

17th Hole

Those who love the hopes and fears of a lucky bag will enjoy the seventeenth, where the hole lies in a deep dell with sharply sloping sides. Man can direct the ball into the dell, but only Providence can decide its subsequent fate, and whether it will lie stone dead or a round dozen of yards away is a matter of chance.

18th Hole

There is no chance about the last hole, where we must hit two good, long, straight shots; it is a fine finish, and will leave us with happy recollections.