IN WWI, GOLF CLUBS RAISED FUNDS AND AWARENESS OF ABSENT MEMBERS AT THE FRONT. We thank ESA member Leon Oldgolf (well known to many of you) for showing us this interesting piece of war and golf history.
Golf and WW1
From about September 1914, golf clubs stopped playing championships. In February 1915, the Victorian Golf Association (VGA) formalised the situation by passing a motion that ‘championships, pennant matches, Foursome challenge Shield Competitions and open meetings cease until the war was over.
The only events held in most clubs were competitions for ‘War Medals’ and ‘Red Cross War Medals’. the medals were bought from the VGA for £1/2-. The 2/- was an administrative cost and the balance went to one of the war funds. At most clubs, players bought a competition card to enter and the winner was the player with the best three aggregate cards for the year.
Golf and WW2
This is the medallion Leon showed us recently. It is 5 x 3.25 cms , 0.75 cm thick and weighs 88 grams (which is quite heavy).
Fund-raising activities were reintroduced during WW2 with an emphasis on assisting prisoners of war. There is a story that relates to Leon’s medallion.
According to the Sporting Globe, 16 July 1941 page 9:
The idea of coming to the rescue of Australian prisoners of war has made a general appeal round the golf clubs, where most have representatives in the hands of the enemy it has been a natural step from the Saturday 19th hole remembrances of “our absent members” to doing something concrete.
The latest club to take action is Huntingdale, where the first of the monthly competitions for this purpose will be held next Saturday. Proceeds of the Stableford play for the E.A. Austin’s trophy will go to the Prisoners of War Fund. The trophy will be a medallion with a Digger on the face.
According to newspaper reports the Huntingdale Club presented:
- a trophy in 19 July 1941 and 15 November 1941; and
- a medal in 20 September 1941 and 17 January 1942.
There must have been other POW Fund competition as they were held monthly but it is not clear what the winners took home. The only later newspaper reference we found to the Huntingdale POW fund was in The Argus, 24 November 1943, page 15 where the result of raffle by Victorian Ladies’ Golf Union for a smoked Fox Fur noted the winning ticket no. 3656, Huntingdale Golf Club Prisoner of War Fund.
The Huntingdale Golf Club
Huntingdale’s decision was made in the early days of the Club. The Club had just opened in Oakleigh in 1941.
The Club’s roots go back to 1896, that incarnation ended with the start of WW1. It reformed in 1924 wishing for a permanent base in the sand belt. ‘Early in 1938 a chance remark by one of the members elicited the fact that Mrs Creswick was considering the disposal of the old Melbourne Hunt Club grounds at East Oakleigh. The course design was entrusted to C.H. Alison, an English golf architect, who worked entirely from models, contour plans, and written information as to the topography of the ground. Former curator, the late Sam Beriman, was co-opted to adapt Allison’s designs to the terrain. The course opened in 1941, and it was at that time the name Huntingdale Golf Club was adopted.’
For more information about the history of Huntingdale Golf Club follow the link.
What is the difference between a medal, a medallion and a badge?
The Macquarie Dictionary defines a medal as a flat piece of metal with an inscription issued to mark a person, action, event which rewards bravery, merit or the like. A medallion is a large medal.
A badge means a mark, token or device signifying allegiance, membership, authority or achievement. This medallion strikes us as a little unusual as the digger looks more like a Roman statue to the ordinary viewer. Who did the design?
Drew, Moira, ‘WW1 War Medals’ in The Long Game: Newsletter of the Golf Society of Australia, April 2015, pages 1-2.