Capturing the true Blitz spirit, these very British rules reveal how golfers refused to let Hitler’s Luftwaffe interrupt their game even as bombs fell on their course.
The ‘temporary’ wartime rules, put together by Richmond Golf Club in Surrey, included guidance on how players could pick up shrapnel, replay a shot if an explosion hit and take cover from the bombs without being handed a penalty.
Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the 1940 instructions have re-emerged nearly 80 years on following the release of an historic photograph archive.
More than 1,000 bombs were dropped on Richmond between October 7 1940 and June 6 1941, with several on the golf club itself.
One destroyed a laundry used by the club, as the German Luftwaffe turned its attention from targeting RAF airfields to attacking London and other major cities towards the end of the Battle of Britain.
Richmond golf club’s wartime rules, which state that players could replay a shot if an explosion hit, have been unearthed. Pictured are players taking ‘shelter’ during the Second World War
A copy of Richmond Golf Club’s ‘temporary’ wartime rules has been released by a historic photo archive today – nearly 80 years after it was written
While the Battle of Britain raged overhead in 1940 and gallant young RAF pilots took on the might of the Luftwaffe to turn the course of the war, the committee at Richmond Golf Club issued some special temporary rules for members.
Showing remarkable composure, the club introduced ‘temporary’ rules on how players could continue to dodge the bombs – and carry on with their game in true Blitz spirit.
Blitz spirit: Golf club’s rules during raids by Hitler’s Luftwaffe
1. Players are asked to collect Bomb and Shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the Mowing Machines
2. In Competitions during gunfire or while bombs are falling players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play
3. The positions of known delayed-action bombs are marked by red flags at reasonable but not guaranteed safe distance therefrom
4. Shrapnel and or bomb splinters on the Fairway or in Bunkers within a club’s length of a ball may be moved without penalty and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally
5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced or if lost or destroyed a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without a penalty
6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty
7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may replay another ball from the same place. Penalty one stroke
Among the more ridiculous rules is that delayed-action bombs are marked out by red flags, but that doesn’t necessarily mean play is guaranteed to be a safe distance away.
Another says that shrapnel can be removed without penalty if it is in the way of a player.
German high command was so enraged by the golf club rules they featured them in a propaganda broadcast to mock the English.
William Joyce, nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw, said: ‘By means of these ridiculous reforms the English snobs try to impress the people with a kind of pretended heroism.
‘They can do so without danger, because, as everyone knows, the German Air Force devotes itself only to the destruction of military targets and objectives of importance to the war effort.’
Joyce hosted the radio programme Germany Calling which tried to demoralise troops between 1939 and 1945.
The club, founded in 1891, only began admitting women in 2009 and has just 500 members.
It now has a copy of the extraordinary wartime rules hung up on the wall for all to see.
General manager John McGuire said today: ‘People wonder if it was a spoof but it’s not.
‘There may have been a war on but the members were determined that a few German bombs were not going to put them off their round of golf.’
The Richmond Golf Club, pictured, was founded in 1891 and has just 500 members. It began admitting women to the club in 2009