The Lakes and Australia’s Ryder Cup

The Lakes Golf Club is no stranger to big tournament golf and it has a long history of gathering the world’s best golfers on its fairways.

The Lakes International Cup pitted Australia’s best golfers against a team of visiting American golfers (Craig Wood, Paul Runyan, Denny Shute, Leo Diegel, Ky Laffoon and Harry Cooper) in a  Ryder Cup style format across two days at The Lakes Golf Club.

Thousands of spectators paid five shillings a day at the inaugural 1934 match to watch their Australian golfing heroes playing world-renowned American stars.

The American team was extremely talented. Craig Wood went on to win two majors in 1941, Denny Shute won three majors in (1933, 1936 and 1937). Leo Diegel had already captured two US PGA Championships when he arrived at The Lakes (1928,1929) and Paul Runyan won the same event in 1934 and 1938.
The standard of Australian golf was obviously still in its infancy as the Australian team was smashed nine matches to nil in the event where Lakes Golf Club members raised £1000 to offset any losses the event may make.
Michael Sherret wrote a great piece about it several years ago (can’t find  a link for it at the moment) but he mentions it in an equally interesting article about Golf in the Melbourne Centenary Year 1934 – the reason the American golfers were down here at the time.
Here is a history of the cup itself via WJ Sanders, the team given the task of restoring the trophy.
Tip o’ the hat to Leon Old Golf for the image. The same poster is up on the wall in The Lakes Clubhouse.

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