Ye Savile Golfe

The Golfe has been played at the Savile since time immemorial, or even earlier. In true Savile fashion, our outings represent the triumph of hope over expectation; the search for individual style far outweighs the grubby demands of trophy-hunting.

In members” bags can be found the tools of yesteryore – the niblicks, the mashies, the brassies. Ask your Savile foursomes partner what ball he prefers, and the answer will be “White” or “Yellow” – none of this modern “Titleist Pro V1′ nonsense. No-one would be surprised to see a Savilian “Golfer” produce a ball of gutta percha from the recesses of his battered canvas carrier.

In the early Spring we go to New Zealand (the club, not the country) to battle the Garrick for the Gavile Trophy. Lunch follows; no, lunch is preceded by the golfe.

Latterly, matches have also been arranged against other London clubs, most notably the Reform at Royal Ashdown; this has become popular for many reasons, not least because their level of competitive urge is remarkably similar to our own.

At some time during April we compete for the first of our three “majors”, the Spring Competition. This is held at a variety of venues around London – since our later meetings are held some distance away – which have in recent years included South Herts, Worplesdon, Ashridge, and Royal Blackheath. The competition precedes an excellent lunch.

Next, at the end of May, comes a marvellous dinner in Rye, preceded by our Summer Competition, held, with what some might feel is a distinct lack of imagination, at Rye Golf Club. Here, in a good year, the skylarks rise in clouds from the impossible rough, and sing as the balls get lost. Until recently, a financial prize (one can hardly call it an inducement, even for Savile “Golfers”) was offered for the Savilian losing the most balls in the afternoon; at the last occasion, the winning count was ten.

Then, towards the end of September, we look forward to a truly exceptional dinner in Aldeburgh, for which the appetiser is the Autumn Competition at, you”ve guessed it, Aldeburgh Golf Club, where the views are spectacular and the gorse reigns supreme – unbeatably supreme; first-aid workers are on hand to attend to any who risk searching for a ball lost therein.

All these competitions are for individual trophies, viewable in the cabinet to the right as you enter the dining room, and presented, duly inscribed, at the Dinner in November unspoilt by “the golfe” either before or after it.

In addition, the singles competitions are followed, at a discreet distance, but still heavily encumbered by massive hangovers, by the excruciating excitement of Savile Foursomes, with the pairings drawn from one of the eclectic selection of Savile golfing hats. A small “sweep” is involved, but since the winners are usually kind enough to buy wine for the subsequent meal, whichever it is, the preferred policy is NOT TO WIN.

Our standard? Well, if you must – the fingers of one hand will comfortably accommodate the names of our “good” players, the 5,6,7 handicappers. The other hand will similarly have no problem with what you might call our “moderate” players, those around the 12,13,14 mark.

And the rest? You may use as many fingers as you like, for these are the heart of Savile golfe – the men who can return from a round, having accumulated eight or ten Stableford points, and proudly stand up and be counted.

Oh yes, and in October, at Woking, there is the Bath Cup, competed for by all the London clubs, mostly vulgar people who care to win. The Savile, for reasons which may by now have become apparent, usually achieves the Wooden Spoon – but at least we know that a “spoon” is a proper golf club, and every Savilian is welcome to our ranks.