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University Golf Match: Wikis


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The University Golf Match (commonly known as the Varsity Match) is the annual golf match contested between the Full Blue golf teams from Oxford and Cambridge universities. Dating back to 1878, it is the oldest amateur event in golf, as well as the oldest team event in golf.[1] It was most recently contested in March 2009, at Rye Golf Club, and was won by Cambridge by a margin of 9-6. The 2010 match is to be played March 18-20 at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales.



The first University Golf Match was played on March 6, 1878, at Wimbledon Common, courtesy of the London Scottish Golf Club.[2] The match was contested by four singles matches, and used the holes up method of scoring. Oxford, led by Horace Hutchinson, won by a margin of 24 holes.[3] Up to and including 2009, 121 University Golf Matches have been played.

In 1898 the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society was founded; members qualify by virtue of their participation in the University Golf Match. Since 1920, the OCGS has hosted the President's Putter, an annual match-play competition for its members held at Rye Golf Club, in Rye, East Sussex.[4]


Until the 1890s there were very few golf courses in England, and none of appropriate quality in the Oxford and Cambridge areas. The University Match was initially played on Wimbledon Common, which, along with Royal Blackheath, was one of just a handful of courses in the London area at the time.

Since then, the University Golf Match has been played at courses all over the United Kingdom, including Royal St George's, Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Liverpool, Muirfield, Ganton, Walton Heath, Hunstanton, Aldeburgh, Royal Porthcawl, and Sunningdale.

The choice of venue alternates between the teams, and the match is traditionally played every five years at Rye (last played at Rye in 2009).

Present-day Competition

Each team comprises ten players plus two reserves. The reserves traditionally play the "Dinner Match" on the Thursday of the Varsity Match week: an 18 hole alternate shot foursomes match, followed by an 18 holes singles match. The losing team is responsible for paying the bill for the Varsity Match dinner on the Saturday evening.

The University Match itself is contested over the course of two days. Five 36 hole foursomes matches are played on the Friday, and ten 36 hole singles matches are played on the Saturday.


  1. ^ "The Early Years of University Golf", John Gillum, 1997
  2. ^ The Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society: 100 Years of Serious Fun, by John Gillum, Grant Books, 1997
  3. ^ ibid
  4. ^ "The Presidents Putter", article in Golf Digest (December, 2009) by John Barton, and available online at

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