Richmond Golf Club amended their club rules to deal with the German Luftwaffe. The story was reported all over the world as a symbol of defiance.
In the Autumn of 1940 the Battle of Britain was coming to an end and the German Luftwaffe stopped attacking airbases and started targeting London. Richmond golf club was regularly hit with bombs during these attacks and their response goes down in the annals of British resistance.
Not wanting to let the possibility of imminent death affect a good round of golf, the Captain quickly set about introducing some new rules to combat the issue.
The rules read..
- Players are asked to collect Bomb and Shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the Mowing Machines.
- In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
- The positions of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonably, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom.
- Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the Fairways, or in Bunkers within a club’s length of a ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
- A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
- A ball laying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.
- A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty one stroke.
The story made it across the Atlantic and was reported as a symbol of British defiance and even managed to get under the skin of the German authorities.
William Joyce, the American-born Irish-British fascist politician and Nazi propaganda announcer (say that five times fast), attacked the rule amendment in one of his infamous weekly broadcasts. Joyce was captured after the war and tried for treason, he was executed on 3 January 1946 at Wandsworth Prison, aged 39. He was one of the last people to be executed in Britain for a crime other than murder.
“By means of these ridiculous reforms the English snobs try to impress the people with a kind of pretended heroism. They can do so without danger, because, as everyone knows, the German Air Force devotes itself only to the destruction of military targets and objectives of importance to the war effort.”
Can you imagine the banter in the clubhouse as they kicked back and toasted a big f*** you to Nazi Germany. It might be worth remembering this sentiment when we complain about there being too many divots on the fairway.