A Review of Golf Books Related to the Sunningdale Golf Club
Sunningdale is unquestionably one of the great golf courses in the world, located outside of London in Berkshire. Great Britain has many golf courses that have achieved their greatness from either hosting the Open Championship or being located by the sea with dramatic views. The Sunningdale Golf Club has neither, but is still one of the best courses in Britain. A heathland course, Sunningdale is ranked by Golf Magazine as #44 of the top 100 courses in the world. It is blessed with great natural terrain and soil conditions. Among its many virtues are having a former Open champion as its golf pro and having both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York serve as Captains of the club. Sunningdale has two great courses, the Old designed by former Open champion Willie Park Jr. (1901) and the New by H.S. Colt (1922). Each course is spectacular.
Sunningdale Golf Club by John Whitfield was published by the club in 2000. The book describes the formation of the course, the history of the club and contains a detailed description of both courses. The book contains many illustrations and pictures including several of the Duke of York and the Prince of Wales golfing. It was at Sunningdale that Bobby Jones shot what has been described as the perfect round of golf. In an Open qualifying round in 1926, using hickory-shafted clubs, Jones shot a 66 with 33 putts and 33 other strokes. He shot 33 on the front and 33 on the back. He hit the greens on all the par fours and par fives in two. His scorecard consisted of only 3s and 4s. At that time the scratch score at Sunningdale was 76. Jones’s description of the round is on page 122 and is fascinating.
Jones’s perfect round described above
Another book published in 2000 is The Sunningdale Centenary 1900-2000, edited by Nicholas Royds. This is really more of a thick magazine with 136 pages and it contains advertisements. However, it has some very interesting articles about Sunningdale written by the likes of Renton Laidlaw, Gary Player, Peter Allis and Henry Longhurst.
The club also published a limited edition book in 2002. Titled Sunningdale Ladies’ Golf Club The First Hundred Years 1902-2002, it was published in a limited edition of 450. Each book is hand numbered and was authored by Barbara J. Gale.
Another interesting book about Sunningdale is Sheridan of Sunningdale published in 1967 by Country Life Limited. James Sheridan was caddie-master at Sunningdale for 56 years. At age 26 he joined the newly-formed Sunningdale club. He was a legend. This history covers an amazing period of time. He recounts the history of the club and his role during both World Wars including nearly getting killed when the Germans dropped bombs on Sunningdale. He worked for H.S. Colt, who served as the first Secretary at Sunningdale. Not many caddy-masters in the world can scold a future king, but Sheridan has and tells the story here. It’s too bad golf has lost a lot of its characters like James Sheridan.
A book that provides an insiders look at Sunningdale is Legendary Golf Clubs of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, photographed by Anthony Edgeworth and written by John de St. Jorre, published in 1998. The book devotes a full chapter to Sunningdale and gives a good feel for the social cachet associated with the club. We are big fans of the works by Edgeworth and de St. Jorre and this is no exception. Their works have a quality that makes them the next best thing to actually visiting the club. The Legendary Golf Clubs book was published in two editions, a hardcover one with a dustjacket and a red deluxe edition with a matching leather slipcase. Both are highly recommended.
Our last book is Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime. This book, published in 1929 as part of the Collins Crime Club series contains many short stories. One of them is The Sunningdale Mystery and features the golf course. Christie lived in Sunningdale during the 1920s.