It was warm sunshine and blue skies all the way for the annual match against North Foreland Golf Club and then at Royal Cinque Ports, regarded as the best Links course never to have hosted an Open. 

The annual “Double Header” fixture proved to be as popular as ever for the Lord Northcliffe Challenge Cup, presented by Lord Rothermere, President of the golfing Society and Chairman of the Daily Mail group, in memory of his great, great uncle, Lord Northcliffe.   

The annual competition marks the close link between the Club and Society as Lord Northcliffe, founder of the Daily Mail in 1896 who helped to popularise golf around the country and who formed the Northcliffe Golfing Society in 1910, lived alongside the North Foreland Club.

While living by the course, Lord Northcliffe had Europe’s first ever 18-hole Par 3 course built, reputed to “copy” famous Par 3 holes at all the top courses he played.   Named “The Northcliffe”, the course is regarded as a great test of golf’s short game and is always extremely busy. 

 With the Club holding a 14 – 11 lead in the annual competition, there was loud cheering from the home team when this year’s 8 – 5 win was announced at the evening dinner.   

Society Chairman Vyvyan Harmsworth presented the trophy to Club Captain Mike White and both agreed that the fun and laughter of the day had again made the annual match such a success, with players greeting old friends and making new friends Last year was the 25th anniversary of the match and the Club presented the Society with an anniversary Glass Bowl to mark the occasion and this was won by the husband and wife pairing of Roy and Rachel Wadey.

There cannot be a tougher and more scenic seaside links course than Royal Cinque Ports and with the annual Club Championship having been played the day before, the tricky undulating greens proved the downfall of so many players. 

It looked like any half decent score could win the Northcliffe Cup, but when Society’s HQP member Keith Cottington, playing off 12 handicap, handed in his card there was congratulations all round as word spread that he had managed to score a brilliant 39pts.

The score was 6pts better than runner-up Will Flint’s 33pts with Jayne Burden’s 32 pts in 3rd place, beating Stephen Sharp on countback with Phillip Woods 5th with 31 pts. Keith was cut 2 shots and Will one shot under the Society rules.  

Nearest the Pin on the tough Par 3 fourth hole was won by Will Flint with the guest prize by Alan Baker with 30 pts, beating Chris Brown’s 29 pts.

 The previous day playing in the North Foreland competition, winner Keith had played so badly that he didn’t consider he had any chance of winning at Royal Cinque Ports, so instead decided to select someone else in the fund raising “Back the Winner” competition.

There was, however, someone who did think Keith might win and Craig Fawcett’s £5 investment resulted in a prize of £80 with £55 going into the funds. 

There were 4 winners in the “2’s” competition, guests Irene Courtney and Clare Brown, each receiving £15 with good shots on Par 3 holes while Steve Sharp scored a brilliant 2 on the Par 4 stroke index one hole.  £15 was raised for funds.

 Our next fixture is Tandridge, Monday, September 27.  Full details are now listed on the website www.northcliffegolf.co.uk

 Garth Burden