About THE VARSITY MATCH
The Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge is the pinnacle of each team member's time at Oxford. It is the culmination of all of the year's hard work both on and off the golf course, which is why every effort is made to hone and perfect all aspects of one's game in the lead up to this week.
The 2024 Varsity Match will take place at Rye Golf Club, host of the meeting between Oxford and Cambridge University Golf Clubs every five years.
Competing in a Varsity Match makes a player eligible to join the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society, a Society founded in 1898 the oldest golfing society in the world.
Membership of the society allows access to play matches against a whole host of other famous societies, not only in the UK, but around the world. Every year the members of the Society take part in the President's Putter which is held at Rye Golf Club.
For the University Varsity Match, the Ladies team will consist of 6 players who play on the Thursday of the Varsity Week. The format consists of 18 holes of foursomes in the morning followed by 18 holes of singles in the afternoon. This format is the same for the Divots Varsity Match on the Wednesday of that week.
The Full Blues match then takes place on the Friday and Saturday of that week. The format of the match is 36 holes of foursomes on the Friday and then 36 holes of singles on the Saturday. With the matches taking place over these 36 holes, and often in testing weather conditions, it is a real challenge to compete in this highly pressured environment.
The Blues team itself is comprised of 12 players (10 full blues and 2 reserves or 'Dinner' blues). The Dinner Match between both team's respective 11th and 12th men takes place on the Thursday and the winner is decided by the outcome of one foursomes match in the morning and two 18 hole singles matches in the afternoon.
At Royal Dornoch last year, Jack Palmer and Struan Hancock (Oxford) took on Peter Allen and Ian King (Cambridge). The losing side has to pick up the bill for the Varsity Match dinner!
The team goes down to the venue for the whole week prior to the start of the match to practice and get to know the course in depth. This carefully planned out week is the final chance for everyone to put the finishing touches on their game ready for the challenge of taking on Cambridge.
Oxford have won twelve, halved one, and lost one of the last fourteen Varsity Matches. These were held at Royal Porthcawl, Royal Cinque Ports, Hunstanton, Royal St George's, Rye, Royal Liverpool, Royal West Norfolk, Ganton, Royal Porthcawl, Rye, Muirfield, Aldeburgh, Formby and Royal Dornoch.
Until the latter part of the twentieth century, accounts of the University Golf Match could be found gracing the back pages of our newspapers, including the Times, Country Life and Tatler. The excerpt below is taken from the former, providing a dramatic review of the dark-blue victory at Formby Golf Club in 1934.