Royal Golf Club Marienbad

 

The original Marianske Lazne 9-hole golf course and clubhouse were opened in 1905. It was a great achievement of the towns representatives, who had responded to numerous requests of western spa guests. The course was built according to plans of Scottish Professional Robert Doig of Musselburg. From the very beginning the course and the club became exceptionally popular particularly between the English and American guests. HM Edward VII, the King of The United Kindom together with the British ambassador in Vienna became two of the first club members. Edward VII is known to have financially supported the club from the beginning. The first game at the newly opened 9-hole course was played on the 1st of June, 1905, while the clubhouse still had not been finished. The official clubhouse opening ceremony took place on the 21st of August 1905 with the presence of the King. A tournament had been organised, with prizes donated by the King. This day is commemorated every year on the same date since then. The popularity of golf grew constantly. Finally, the course was extended to 18 holes in 1923.

The course was successfully presented at the Austrian Exhibition in London, where the special Marianske Lazne section featured a relief model of the course. Many outstanding guests could be met at the course in the summer months, among others David Lloyd George (1863-1945), the British Prime Minister in 1916-1922, or his friend, later Lord Reading. The course was also twice visited by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).

Twice in the thirties the course was visited by Henry Cotton, who set the then course record of 68 (2 under). The club engaged another known Englisman – Arthur Lees – as a club Pro. Arthur Lees used to come back to visit the Marianske Lazne golf club over the years, in the sixties and for the last time in 1983.

In the summer of 1934 the memorial plaque of Edward VII was revealed near Tee 1. Edward VII used to visit the town and later the golf club repeatedly, first in 1897 as the Prince of Wales, in 1903 first as the King of Great Britain. He stayed once in the hotel Klinger, and eight times in the hotel Weimar, for the last time was in 1909.

The 1935 season culminated in three championships. The historically first Open Championship of Czechoslovakia was attended by the best European professionals. The winner was Scot Mark Seymour, followed by Arthur Lees and Henry Cotton (1934 British Open Champion). The best amateur player was H.C.Bentley. The Open Championship 1937 was played again in Marianske Lazne. Among the participating 18 professionals and 14 amateurs the winner was Henry Cotton (then 1937 British Open Champion).

The most difficult time for the club came after World War II. For the next few decades it took the enormous effort of a group of enthusiasts to protect the course from destruction, planned by the communist rulers of the country. Golf, being officially considered “a game unsuitable for the working class” had been subject to suppression. Still, after the social relaxation in 1968 the members of the club succeeded in sending a representative team of players to several international championships. This was practically the only allowed contact with international golf in the seventies and eighties. The European Junior Championship 1978 was the first important event in the clubs history after World War II. It was the most important golf event of Czech golf at that time. Such a championship was organized for the first time in Eastern Europe under the communist regime. Holes No.2 and No.3 had been rebuilt for this occasion. This championship was the first occasion to meet young players, who have later succeeded in turnaments og PGA European Tour. One of them, Ronan Rafferty acquired third place in PGA Volvo Tour tournament 1995 in Marianske Lazne.