The Halford Hewitt Competition

The Halford Hewitt Competition

The Halford Hewitt foursomes tournament started in 1924. It was inspired primarily by old boys of  public schools that took part in the association football cup, The Arthur Dunn Cup. These schools, including Eton and Charterhouse, were minded to create a golfing equivalent. A Carthusian, Halford Hewitt, volunteered to donate a cup and it is in his name that the event is played.

It is an event unlike any other and has been described by Nick Tremayne OA, a former golfing journalist, as greatest of all truly amateur tournaments. Few who know the tournament would take issue with that statement. It is the largest scratch amateur event in the world in terms of starting competitors.

64 schools take part, each providing a team of five foursomes pairs. Thus there are 640 former pupils starting at two courses, Royal Cinque Ports and Royal St Georges. The competition starts on a Thursday early in April and proceeds on a knockout basis over four days until the final on Sunday afternoon.

The Society first took part in 1935. In the early years, success was difficult to come by and early round departures were not uncommon.  However in more recent years there have been two appearances in the semi finals and in 1982 Dulwich lost in the final to a very powerful Charterhouse side.  1982 remains the high water point to date, but hope springs eternal! The official team photograph of the 1982 side is below.

L to R rear: David Somerville, Geoffrey Éclair-Heath, Mike Kirby, Jeremy Hall, David Rutnam, Jeremy Brewer, Nick Owen
L to R front; Bob Deakin, Bogey Smith, Tony Brewer (Captain) Jack Blanch, George Melio

Whilst as a team, Dulwich’s results could have been better, some of the individual performances have been of the very highest order. Three OAs have played over 100 matches which is a rare and distinguished achievement. First to reach this milestone was Bob Deakin in 1996. He went on to play a total of 111 matches over a 52 year period. Then Mike Kirby made it in 2006 (110 matches in total). Finally, David Somerville in 2015 (103). These three sit head and shoulders above the many other OAs who have had the good fortune to play in the Hewitt.