The Aura of the Gold Bowl
There are not many golf clubs in the UK that compete for a solid gold trophy, but Cardiff Golf Club is one of them.
Legend has it that a Club member, a successful Commercial Traveller, Mr John Herbert McKiever, decided that he wished to present the Club with a trophy for a Men’s competition. However, he was informed that the Men already played for a silver trophy (Lewis Lougher Cup), to which Mr McKiever replied that he would present a gold trophy!
It was arranged that the trophy, named as the Cardiff Royal Infirmary Golf Challenge Cup, was purchased through the generous donation of 60 guineas from Mr McKiever, and should be an “Open” meeting i.e should be open to visitors as well as Cardiff Golf Club members. Mr McKiever specified that 75% of the entrance fees should be donated to Cardiff Royal Infirmary each year.
The Cardiff Royal Infirmary Golf Challenge Cup, later abbreviated to “The Gold Bowl” was first played for on Saturday 16th July 1927 and was won by Mr Harry T King, from a field of 222 competitors, and over £70 was raised for CRI. The Infirmary continued to benefit until the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948.
Mr. Harry T. King
All Head Greenkeepers aim to have their golf courses in good condition all of the time, but there is no doubt that the Gold Bowl merits extra special effort to present the Course in probably its’ finest condition of the year. The course set-up will be demanding but fair, whilst the very back tee boxes will be used. Members throughout the year will refer to “Gold Bowl pin positions”!
The Gold Bowl has changed over the years from being a truly Open competition, to a Medal round for Club members, although some visitors may play, upon the invitation of members.
The Gold Bowl stands apart from all other competitions (with the exception of the Silver Bowl), in that the method of booking a tee-time is different to the normal on-line booking system. Traditionally, because of the popularity of this event, members wishing to participate, started queuing for up to an hour and a half before the starting list was open, in order to book their preferred tee-time. The whole process was turned into quite a social event! However, if the Gold Bowl sign -in coincided with an Outside Function held in the Lounge, the Club was not presented in its best light with a trail stretching as far as the stairway, so things had to change! The current method of sign-up now consists of a queuing system of obtaining a numbered ticket, still an hour and a half before the starting list is open, but this now takes place in the Pugsley Bar. The bulk of the tee-times, which range from 7.30am to 3.00pm are filled in this way, with the remaining times taken within a few days. Generally, there will be a reserve starting list for the Gold Bowl.
John Herbert McKiever only played in the inaugural Gold Bowl tournament as, sadly, he collapsed at a business event in Brecon and died the following day in hospital on 14th February 1928.
However, his legacy lives on!