Ceylonese golf history – Priceless!View(s):
The AGM held in January 1900 was fully reported in the Times. The correspondent reporting that: The General Meeting of the Colombo Golf Club revealed the fact that the Club is in a most flourishing state and continues highly popular among the community. The balance sheet as presented by the Hon. Treasurer Mr. Grigson is interesting to read. Subscription last year amounted to Rs. 1,958/= and entrance fees to Rs. 510/= so that during the current year with a Rs. 20/= subscription instead of a paltry Rs. 10/= the income ought to rise to quite a sum of Rs. 4,000/=. Further source of income and thanks to the energy of Mr. Ayden, will be found in the drinks-especially when more favourable conditions exist for the liberal dispensation of liquor. The men officers are quite the right men for the Club and the appointment of the special committee to select a site for the new pavilion ought to push on a work that Is most urgently needed. The selection of a new site for the new Club House cannot be decided on till it is known where the railway will run.
Great Britain was at war, and though the Club was at peace with its members and the Government under the authority of a friendly Governor, there were other ‘local’ problems that had to be solved. The owners of the Plumbago yards had earlier refused to return balls hit into their premises, and now their carts were destroying the road. A letter was sent to the District Road Committee that the road was “originally made available to carriages by the Golf Club at considerable expenses” adding that “the owners of the Plumbago curing yard should be called upon to pay the whole cost of the repair”.
The owner’s son (the Rt. Hon. Late D. S. Senanayake P.C.) and grandson (Hon. Late Dudley Senanayake) went to write ‘Ceylon’ History by being the first Prime Minister of Ceylon and subsequent Prime Minister of Ceylon twice over. Later in the year, an Extra-ordinary General Meeting was held, fully accounts appearing both in the Minute Book and in the Times to select a site for the new Club House. Three sites were put before the members:
(a). Site of the old bungalow.
(b). Site of the present cadjan pavilion.
(c). The high ground near the present 10th hole.
After consideration of the relative merits of the 3 sites the third site as recommended by the Sub-Committee was selected for the reason that –
(a). It is nearer Colombo than the present permanent bungalow.
(b). It has ready and more pleasant means of access.
(c). It stands on high ground and has a good view of the greater portion of the links…the course can easily be arranged to begin and end close by.
Accommodation for houses and carriages can be provided in the vicinity. Mention is also made in the minutes that the lowest estimate received for the building of the Pavilion was Rs. 5, 300/=!!
On the ‘Golfing’ side, recorded in the Minutes for the first time is the result of an Inter-Club Match; a match played against the Victoria Golf Club on the links on 10th March 1900!, which resulted in a win for the Colombo Golf Club by ’31 holes to 11 holes’. The teams were 10 a side and the Victoria Golf Club fared no better in the return match played at the Ridgeway when they were beaten 50 holes to 3.
The first Ceylonese Golfer mentioned in the minutes is Beauchamp de Saram. He played for the Victorian Golf Club and lost both his matches. Undaunted, he entered the Ceylon Championship held later in the year being the first Ceylonese to do so. He was beaten in the 2nd Round by Brooke Elliot, who went on to win the Championship. Beauchamp de Saram was also the first Ceylonese to be admitted to membership of the Colombo Golf Club, and his Cousin F. J. De Saram who was also made a member, took part in the competition for the Mcleod Vase, held at the same time as the Championship.
Beauchamp was the 2nd of seven brothers who excelled in sports. The eldest Shelton played cricket for his College and trials in Cambridge. Douglas, Fred and E. R. played cricket for All Ceylon and Fred and E.R. won Doubles titles in Tennis. F. J. de Saram Jr. was the eldest son of F. J. de Saram Snr. the founder of the well known firm of lawyers, FJ & G. de Saram. He graduated from Oxford University and was enrolled a Barrister-at-law andfor some years practiced as a Barrister in Colombo and then engaged himself in the motor business. Queen Victoria died on 22nd January 1901 and the whole Island of ‘Ceylon’ went into mourning. Fifty thousand people gathered on Galle Face Green on February 2nd to pay their last respects. The Minutes acknowledged the event by merely recording that ‘the Quarterly Silver Medal is postponed to Sunday 9th owing to the death of the Queen”
In May ‘Colonel Bogie’s handicap was revised and settled’
To be continued next week
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