The childhood and early life as a young man in the Channel Island of Jersey of Harry Vardon, the Championship Golfer of yesteryear, is covered in a newly released Windows Media Format video called Harry Vardon; Jersey’s Favourite Golfing Son.
Harry Vardon is revered in his home island as a visit to the Jersey Museum in St. Helier witnesses. It is here where one can see a permanent exhibit donated by his widow, of the famous golfer’s medals from the period of approximately 1890- 1914.
Vardon grew up on the east coast of the island near to Gorey harbour and the imposing medieval castle of Mont Orgueil carefully watching the near by coast of France. Along with the Royal Bay of Grouville, given the Royal status by Queen Victoria, this area makes up the neighbourhood to Grouville common where as a baby and child Harry Vardon and his parents lived at Amité Lodge. This was one of several small cottages that have long since been raised to the ground but, today, there stands on the 12th tee of the golf course, a Jersey stone block has been placed in the ground. It’s carved letters are losing their paint to the winter weather, but still tell the story that close by the great golfer was born. On viewing the video it is possible to make out the dates of Vardon’s greatest triumphs. Open Championship wins in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 and 1914. Also the U.S. Open in 1900.
Harry’s father had been employed in one of the shipyards that, in the olden days of wood constructed ships, could be found around the coast of the island. But by 1860’s the modern steamship was not built of wood and the industry went into terminal decline. Harry’s father was forced to earn a living as a garden labourer and odd job man. The Vardon family still lived on the common though. So in 1877, when permission was given for a golf course to be created on the land running down to the waters-edge, they were probably, like most of their neighbours, very unhappy to have their quiet surroundings disturbed.
Harry was about eight when the “strange men”, as he called them in his book “My Golfing Life” arrived to survey the land on which to play the game that was to go on to have such a profound influence on his life. He would go on to win six Open Championships and, importantly, to be the first British winner of the United States Open in 1900.
At the entrance to the Royal Jersey Golf Club, today, stands a statute to Jersey’s most famous golfing son.
A Windows Media Format Video that brings the story of Harry Vardon’s early years to life with pictures old and new of Harry Vardon’s birthplace is available from The Printed Word Jersey