First Ryde Golf Club
After a long awaited want, according to the Observer Press of 12th October 1895: “New Golf Links. We hear that the ladies of Ryde will not have to travel far in the future if they wish to practice golf, as some golf links are going to be provided. Several gentlemen belonging to the town have obtained some very suitable land near Westridge, and are now busily engaged in laying it out.” This golf club at Westridge Farm was founded in 1895.
The next that was heard of this new club was a letter dated 12th December from the Hon. Sec. of the Westridge Golf Club, E. Dowson, Hillside, Ryde, to the editor of the I.W. Observer stating: “Sir, will you kindly allow a small place in your paper to bring to the notice of those interested in the increasingly popular game of golf, that the Westridge Golf Club, which was established on the 8th October 1895, is progressing favourably. The club now consists of 45 members, and it is hoped that the Pavilion, now under construction, will be erected by New Year’s Day, when the services of a green keeper are to be engaged. The links which afford a nine-hole course, are about 30 minutes walk from the centre of town, and are situated between Westridge House and Woodlands Vale.”
Until this new facility was provided, the people of Ryde would travel to the Bembridge golf course to engage in the game. In October 1895 Ryde ladies took part in a match play competition for a scratch prize, presented by Mr. A. Forrester Brown (a gold scarf ring with the crest of the Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club set in crystal), which was won by Mrs. Latimer Le Marchant. The first handicap prize a silver-mounted scoring card-holder, presented by Miss Hilda and Miss Evelyn Moreton, was won by Mrs. F. W. Bush, and the second handicap prize, presented by the club, was won by Miss Jessie Gordon.
Names of other ladies taking part in the competition were: Miss Evelyn Moreton, Miss Helen Tabuteau, Miss Henry, Miss Greenwood, Miss Sapte Blake, Miss Knox, Miss Ethel Blake, Miss Pigou, Miss B. Thornycroft, Miss K. Tabuteau, Mrs. Bulkley, Miss Ethel Tabuteau, Miss M. Thorneycroft.
By July 1898, golf claimed many votaries among the visitors and residents of Ryde, and the Ryde Golf Club had so increased its membership that it had been found necessary to enlarge the Pavilion on the club ground.
Sources: RSHG Archive Roy Brinton Collection & the Isle of Wight Observer