Croydon Rotary Clubs Golf Circle

            A history of the Croydon Rotary Clubs Golf Circle

These are the notes I took from a conversation, probably in the 1980’s. with Douglas Rawling, who joined the Croydon Rotary Club in 1923.   I have no exact date but Michael, his younger son, who is well know to most Circle members, was also present.

Croydon Rotary Club was founded in November 1921.    At that time the Rotary club had its own office with a Secretary to which all correspondence was directed.     During 1922 it was discovered that a number of the members played golf so, in January 1923, a golf section was formed comprising members of just the Rotary club.     An informal event had taken place in 1922 when the Circle’s first two trophies were presented, the Alan Straker Cup, to be played for in the Spring and the Edridge Cup,  in the autumn.   Prominent, amongst the membership, at that time were the following :--

T.R.(Dick) Edridge
, the Founder President of the Rotary Club of Croydon and the senior partner of Edridges and Drummonds Solicitors, at the junction of High Street and Crown Hill.

Alan Straker
, manager of the Eagle Star Insurance Office near East Croydon station.

Percy V. Morris
, President of the Rotary Club in 1932 and senior partner of Ganson, Morris and Co., Chartered Accountants in George Street.   He presented his cup in 1936.

Alfred George Youngman
, President of the Rotary club in 1929 and Town Clerk of the then Croydon Council.   He presented his cup in 1931.

Ernest W Turner
, President of the Rotary club in 1944 and managing director of Turners Transport. His sons, John and Martin, later became members of Croydon Rotary club with Martin, an International Rugby player, becoming Captain of the circle in 1982.     He presented his cup in 1934.

W. Dudley Kennard
, Secretary of the Rotary club and managing director of Kennards Ltd., in North End and now owned by Debenhams.     He presented his cup in 1936.

Unfortunately, the Circles records have no account of events in the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, however, with a few exceptions, the results are very well recorded.   The Circle, as such, was formed in the spring of 1954 when Sidney T. Grant (Grants brothers), was elected the first Captain, Arthur Franklin (a past Captain of Addington Palace) Vice Captain, Stuart Davis (Davis Theatre) Secretary, and Wilfred Sherwood (Liverpool London and Global Insurance Company) as Treasurer.     At that meeting the present format of competitions we still play for was approved.   Only the Martin Turner Team Trophy, presented in 1981, has been added.     However, the twice annual match against Worthing and District Rotary Clubs for the Wooden Tophy, presented by Percy Cross, a former member of Croydon Rotary club and a retired Barclays bank manager who moved to Worthing about 1957, is sadly no longer on our fixture list.     If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the Wooden Cup, would they please contact the Secretary of the Circle.

Well-known Croydon names featuring in the original Circle membership included Sidney Grant, Bernard Dees, Basil Monk, Guy Savaage, Morris Riesco and Ernest Taberner.    Norman Mitchell and Ron Tilbury were also members, so Thornton Heath and Norbury Rotary Club had obviously been included.    Jimmy McConnell, our secretary from 1958 to 1974, was also in the circle.     His excellent writing and notes form an important part of our history.
Looking through the Circle’s records now, makes interesting reading.    I have extracted a few of what I hope you will find newsworthy items.     My apologies for anything that is considered to be material, that may be missing.

There were 25 members, each paying 5/-, in 1975, when Michael John was the Treasurer, a position he held for seven years, when he was succeeded by a certain Michael Rawling.

The annual subscription was doubled in 1961 to 10/-, a figure it was to remain at until 1977, when it doubled again in a resolution moved by the then retiring Captain, Ian Snell.    On neither occasion did this appear to have caused an immediate loss of membership!

Annual General Meetings were held each spring at Grants following a meeting of the Croydon Rotary Club.     In 1979, “as an experiment” the AGM was coupled with a dinner, at a cost of £7.00 per head, at Croham Hurst Golf Club and members were afterwards addressed by Robin Robson, “the much respected and recently retired professional at Croham Hurst”.    We have had the AGM coupled with the dinner ever since.

The Circle’s first Spring meeting was held at Tandridge Golf Club on Wednesday, 26 April, when the following charges were applied.   Green fee 10/-, Lunch 5/6p (what a price!), and Tea 1/6p.   An entry fee of 3/6p and a sweep of 2/6p were added and look expensive alongside the other costs.    Some members played all day but it must be remembered that Wednesday was then an early closing day for shopkeepers.     Even in 1960 at Croham Hurst, members of the Circle were only required to pay a total of £1-5/-, for lunch, an afternoon round and tea!
In 1969 the Circle welcomed the new Rotary club of Croydon South to membership.   One of their members, Ron Quinton, won the Youngman Cup that year.    Croydon East joined the Circle in 1978 and Jubilee the following year.    In 1996, with numbers running low, membership was extended to the format we now have subject to no resignations, 38.

Honorary Secretary
4th February 2005

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The Alan Straker Cup

A large Silver Punch Bowl for award at the Spring Meeting
Presented in 1922 by Alan Straker a Founder member.
Intended for Lower Handicap Players, this Cup was originally awarded in 1922 but was lost in a house burglary and replaced in 1968
The Alan Straker Cup was replaced in 2023 by the "Past Captain's Centenary Cup" as it was too large as well as being difficult and expensive to engrave.

Click on the image to access the list of  winners for this Trophy