Teams of Old Harrovians compete annually among a total of 16 public schools over 2 days in June/July for the Bernard Darwin Trophy at Woking Golf Club. This match play competition was originally conceived in 1958 as a seniors' Halford Hewitt, to be played as scratch foursomes among teams of 6 from the 16 participating schools - Charterhouse, Clifton, Eton, Harrow, Highgate, The Leys, Malvern, Marlborough, Radley, Repton, Rugby, Tonbridge, Uppingham, Wellington, Westminster & Winchester - split into 3 distinct age categories, The Darwin for 55 -65, The Senior Darwin for 65-75, The Very Senior or Veterans' Darwin for 75 plus. Originally each age category was 5 years younger than it is today (e.g. 50 - 60).
The Bernard Darwin has been running in the same format at Woking consecutively for 56 years and has been won by Harrow just 3 times in 1978, 1996, and most recently triumphed in 2017 under the guidance of Jamie Warman, of President's Putter and Halford Hewitt fame. While this is not a great overall record compared with Tonbridge winners 13 times, Rugby 10 and Wellington 8, we do have the drop on Eton as winners just twice.
The Senior Darwin has been played for the last 28 years during which Harrow have won once, compared with leaders Marlborough 7 times, Charterhouse and Rugby 5 each, Wellington 4, and this time Eton have outpaced Harrow as 3 times winners.
The Very Senior Darwin has run for the last 25 years, and here we have to concede that Eton are the clear winners with 7 wins edging out Wellington with 6, Charterhouse and Malvern with 3 each, while Harrow have yet to win this section!
It is indeed fitting that Woking GC should be the host for The Darwin because the club has always been well represented in the Halford Hewitt from which this seniors competition was derived, and has embraced the Darwin enthusiastically with a historic trophy and silver claret jug. The link with Bernard Darwin himself, a member of the 1922 Walker Cup team, was that he was President of Woking GC at that time. Woking GC was founded in 1893 on open heathland in N.W. Surrey and has since matured into a testing inland links, with undulating topography, characterised by long carries over heather to narrow tree- lined fast running fairways and fine greens full of character and deceptive slopes. The course is the oldest of the 3 'W's' in the Woking area and has been described as a hidden gem, currently no. 77 out of the top 100 in GB and Ireland as rated by Golf Magazine.
For more information please visit the Bernard Darwin Website.