History of Fitzwilliam Golf Society and the Birth of the One Size FitzHall Trophy
In 2008, Michael Archer alumnus of St Edmund Hall, Oxford asked Fitzwilliam College whether an alumni golf society existed. Michael’s son, Dan, was a Fitzwilliam graduate and Michael thought that it would be an excellent idea to arrange a golf match for the Old Aularians (Teddy Hall alumni) against their sister college from Cambridge.
No such Fitz golf group then existed but the college were aware of a bunch of 1973 alumni who regularly attended the Varsity Match and were known to play golf together. So they passed on the request to Henry Croft-Baker to see whether he could help. Henry thought it was a brilliant idea and that we should all meet in the pub to discuss it. Discussions were held at The Mitre in Holborn (still the venue for committee meetings) and the date for a match was set for July 2009. The venue was to be Wimbledon Park Golf Club – the home club of Michael Archer and John Phillips.
The FitzHall match soon became “One Size FitzHall”. Michael’s son, Dan, designed a crest combining the symbolic mascots of the two colleges – the Fitz Billy Goat with the St Edmund Hall Chough This was etched onto a cup very generously donated by Michael – and the One Size FitzHall Trophy was born!
Henry mustered a team of 9 players together for the inaugural fixture on 28 July 2009 at Wimbledon Park. We were playing competitive sport against Oxford again! Unfortunately, Fitz was outnumbered and outplayed and we lost heavily - but it was an excellent day with great company and we were playing for Fitzwilliam once again. .
After supper, Henry presented the Trophy to Chris Atkinson, the Hall President together with the Fitz contribution – a stunning ceremonial red blazer to be worn by the winning captain.
We had lost but we resolved to do two things. The first was to get properly organised and the second was to host the return match the following year. A committee was formed with Henry as Captain, Colin Dunkerley as Secretary, Bob Barltrop as Treasurer and Graham May. We set out to find other golfing Fitzwilliam alumni and arranged the second FitzHall match in 2010 at Mid Herts. The Fitzwilliam Golf Society was born!
We lost the second match as well! But we had mustered 18 Fitz players who were keen for more. The society started to take off. The FitzHall match remains a core fixture but the fixtures grew. In 2011, we had our first Fitz Open in Cambridge won by Kevin Pickersgill followed by a Dinner in college. Our list of players grew and in 2012, a third fixture was added with a match against St John’s.
Fixtures added in subsequent years include a match against the Cambridge University Land Society and a Summer Tour. In 2013 we visited Norwich. In 2014, Mike Hamment took us to Oxford and then East Kent in 2015.
Society History was made in 2014 with our first hole in one, scored by Peter Bennett. Hitting to a raised green, Peter spent several minutes scouring the bushes around the green before eventually finding the ball in the hole! At the Cambridge Dinner, he was presented with a Porsche car as his prize – but in this case, a model version.
New players join us every year. By the end of 2015, a total of 70 Fitz alumni had taken part in at least one match. Mike Hamment took over as Captain in 2014 and Henry Croft-Baker became the Society's first President.
The fixture list for 2016 has grown to nine events. Our usual matches are against St Edmund Hall and CULS. The match against Johns has become a threeway match with new opponents – St Peter’s College, Oxford. We are entering a team of 6 players into a new Cambridge Inter College Alumni Tournament in April at Gog Magog to be followed by dinner at Peterhouse.
The Fitz Open will be in early September as usual, this year at Gog Magog followed by dinner in college. The Captain’s Tour in July will be to Dorset with some excellent courses in prospect. Finally, we enter teams into a Society Competition at Cambridge Meridian and the Harpenden Mencap Day (organised by one of our members,Matthew Hignell ).
The success of Fitzwilliam Golf Society is down to the enthusiasm of its members but we owe a debt of gratitude to Michael Archer and our friends from the Old Auralians for prompting our formation.