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About The Society of One-Armed Golfers


The Society of One-Armed Golfers was founded in 1932.

Our objective is to provide a level playing field in golf for all those unfortunate enough to have lost the use of an arm. Every year a World Championship is held which attracts an average 50 entries from some 12 different countries, supplemented by Spring and Autumn Regional meetings held in Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. We play a Foursomes match v the Oxford & Cambridge Golf Society.

Please have a look around our website and if you would like to join us just download the application form. A Social Membership is available for members family and friends, an application form is also available on the site.

The History of The Society

Founding and Early Years

The Society was formed on 12th November 1932 in the offices of a Glasgow solicitor, Mr Archibald Pollock. There were 16 present at the inaugural meeting, Mr Pollock taking the chair with Mr William Hall appointed to act as Secretary. The entry in the minute book reads as follows:-

That this meeting decides to form an association of one-armed golfers to be known as 'The Society of One-Armed Golfers' and constitutes itself into a committee with full powers to form such an association."

Prior to this date, the first meeting of one-armed golfers on a national basis had taken place at Moor Park. This was on the 19th June 1931, when 38 competitors took part in a two round medal event, won by A W Edwards (Penn). A trophy was presented by Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton of 'Gallipoli' fame. Although won outright by Mr Edwards, he later presented it to the Society for annual competition. The trophy was restricted to players who had been disabled in World War 1 and this competition applied until 1946 when the original trophy was returned to Mr Edwards. A new trophy was then provided by Sir Ian which was open to all.

The first meeting of the newly formed Society of One-Armed Golfers was held in the spring of 1933 on the 20th May at the Falkirk Golf Club, 22 members attended. There was one medal round only which was won by G S Paterson with a Nett score of 76 (87-11). On the 7th September of the same year the first Amateur Open Championship for one-armed golfers was held under the auspices of the Society at Barnton, Edinburgh. There were 38 entries, 19 members and 19 non-members. The winner was W R Thomson (Eastwood GC) with rounds of 82+87=169. He received the "Rowan Championship Cup" presented by Messrs Rowans Ltd, Glasgow. The trophy is still played for today.

The next year, 1934, saw the first full week of competitions organised by the Society. The venue was Wilderness Country Club, Kent, from 23rd to 27th July. At the end of this week the new (and first match play) Champion was F W Berridge (Bournemouth). Entries numbered 40. It was at this meeting that the International series between Scotland and England began. The winning team received a trophy presented by Brigadier A C Critchley, CGM, DSO, MP. England had the honour of being the first winners by 8-3 with 1 match halved.

Membership of the Society rose quickly and by 1942 had reached between 70-80. Activities virtually ceased between 1939-1945, resuming again in 1946 with a full-scale meeting at St Andrews, from 27th to 31st May. In all 34 players took part.

Regular meetings have been held ever since. Apart from the weeklong Annual Championship each region- South (England and Wales), North (Scotland) and Ireland, hold an Autumn Meeting, usually at a weekend. Also in the calendar is the Scottish Spring Meeting, the Society v Oxford and Cambridge Universities Golf Society as well as a match against the Cambridgeshire Moathouse GC.

Presidents, Secretaries and Treasurers

The first Honorary President of the Society was Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, followed by Field Marshall Lord Wavell, Viscount Kemsley, Gen. H Micklem CBE., Sir David Home, Bt., Keith MacKenzie OBE., MC., and the present holder of this office Sir Michael Bonallack OBE.

The founder Secretary, W Hall, resigned in October 1935 and H Eglington became Secretary and Treasurer, a position he held for 14 years until handing over to R O Hughes in 1949. From then until his death in 1961 Mr Hughes served the Society with the same enthusiasm and devotion as his predecessors.

The duties of Secretary and Treasurer were undertaken by F Berrisford until June 1962, when R D Marshall accepted the office. Upon the resignation of Mr Marshall for business reasons in 1971, W R Barbour was elected and gave a further 11 years of tireless service to the Society. After completing the Golden Jubilee Championship and seeing the membership back up to 'three figures' he handed over in 1982 to Don Reid. Don, who was noted for his elegant and creative writing, also played a considerable part in advancing the membership beyond 150 as well as writing a detailed history of the Society. After a 12 year stint Don retired and handed over the reins to Hugh Ross in 1994 and Hugh carried on the traditions of the position with ongoing thoroughness and enthusiasm. Hugh served as Secretary and Treasurer until the 2001 Championship at Headfort when he handed over as Secretary to Paul Champness, father of the then current One-armed Champion, Nick Champness. It was also at Headfort that a change in the Constitution saw the post of Secretary/Treasurer split into two separate posts, with Harold Bray, a past President, becoming Treasurer.

In 2003 it was all change again regarding the positions of Secretary and Treasurer with Michael Crowston taking over from Paul Champness as Secretary and Charles Lowe replacing Harold Bray as Treasurer. Major changes were in the air as the Society adopted a constitution approved by the Charity Commissioners as it applied for charity status. The Scottish Region had already been granted charity status in Scotland. The Society is funded in a number of ways, being supported by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club with a grant to assist in running the Annual Championship, by fund raising activities organised by members and by very welcome sponsorship.

Fightmaster Cup

The inaugural Fightmaster Cup named after Louisville's own Don Fightmaster, took place September 11th to 14th 2008 at The Cardinal Club, Simpsonville, Kentucky near Valhalla Golf Club, the venue for the 2008 Ryder Cup. The match is planned to be schedule in the same country and in the same year as the Ryder Cup thereby alternating location between Europe and the USA.

The match format is the same as the Ryder Cup.

 an internationally well known, one armed golfer who has inspired numerous young men and women with permanent disabilities to take up the game of golf. Don lost his left arm in an accident in 1954 and since has won numerous national and international championships for one armed golfers. 

The Society Today

The present membership numbers around 180 drawn from all parts of the world. Although largely based in the British Isles other members are from place such as USA, Germany, Sweden, India, Australia, Bermuda, France, South Africa, Denmark, Indonesia and the Netherlands.

Since its inception the Society has attracted an aggregate membership of around 1000. It is strictly speaking the only association of its kind in the world. In recent years affiliated associations have begun in the USA and South Africa but the Society remains the oldest serving the needs of the one armed golfer.

Since its inception in 1932 the Society has done much to foster the spirit of goodwill and fellowship, and has made many friends throughout the world. When one considers the great interest, enjoyment and recreation experienced by such a large number, one can appreciate the Society has served a good purpose and will continue to do so as it continues into the 21st Century, providing a golfing environment for those who play the game in a unique circumstance.