Bernard Darwin

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Bernard Darwin

Bernard Richard Meirion Darwin CBE JP (7 September 1876 – 18 October 1961) a grandson of the British naturalist Charles Darwin, was a golf writer and high-standard amateur golfer. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.


Darwin was the son of Francis Darwin and Amy Ruck, his mother dying from a fever on 11 September, four days after his birth. He was the first grandson of Charles and Emma Darwin (see Darwin–Wedgwood family), and was brought up by them at their home, Down House. His younger half-sister from his father's second marriage to Ellen Wordswotth Crofts was the poet Frances Cornford.

Darwin was educated at Eton College, and graduated in law from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a Cambridge Blue in golf 1895-1897, and team captain in his final year.[1]

Darwin married the engraver Elinor Monsell in 1906. They had one son, Sir Robert Vere Darwin, and two daughters; the potter Ursula Mommens, and Nicola Mary Elizabeth Darwin, later Hughes (1916–1976). During the First World War he served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Macedonia as a lieutenant.

After Cambridge, Darwin became a court lawyer, but did not particularly enjoy that career, and gradually moved into journalism, despite having no formal training. He covered golf for The Times from 1907 to 1953 and for Country Life from 1907 to 1961, the first writer ever to cover golf on a daily basis, instead of as an occasional feature.

He played the game at an excellent level himself well into middle age, and competed in The Amateur Championship on 26 occasions across five decades between 1898 and 1935, with his best results being semi-final appearances in 1909 and 1921. In 1922, while in the United States to report on the first Walker Cup amateur team match between Britain and Ireland and the U.S., and also appointed as non-playing captain, Darwin was pressed into service at the last minute as a player, when one of the British team members, Robert Harris, was unable to play. He lost his team match, but won his singles match.

He was Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1934, and was President of the Golf Club Managers' Association (then the Association of Golf Club Secretaries) from 1933 to 1934 and then again from 1955 to 1958. Though mainly a golf writer, he also occasionally wrote on cricket, and prefaced the first edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. He was awarded CBE in the 1937 Coronation Honours.[2]

Bernard Darwin was an authority on Charles Dickens. He frequently contributed the fourth leading article in The Times. The fourth Leader was devoted to flippant themes, and Darwin was known to insert quotes from or about Dickens in them. When Oxford Press issued all classics by Dickens around 1940, each with a foreword by a Dickensian scholar, Darwin was chosen to contribute the foreword to The Pickwick Papers. He was also asked by The Times to pen the main tribute to cricketer W.G. Grace when Grace's birth centenary was celebrated in 1948. The article has been included since in a few anthologies.

Bernard Darwin's works were kept in print by Herbert Warren Wind through his curated Classics of Golf Library.

In 2005, Darwin was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, in the Lifetime Achievement category.

He is buried in St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Downe, Kent.


  • The World That Fred Made (Chatto & Windus, 1955) Autobiography
  • Bernard Darwin on Golf, ISBN 1-58574-768-8
  • The Golf Courses of the British Isles
  • Golf Is My Game (with Bobby Jones)
  • Playing the Like
  • Golf
  • Green Memories
  • The Happy Golfer (his best articles from The American Golfer magazine, 1922–1936), 1997
  • James Braid, 1952
  • The classics of golf original edition of the Darwin sketchbook: Portraits of golf's greatest players and other selections from Bernard Darwin's writings, 1910–1955
  • Golf Between Two Wars (Chatto & Windus, 1944)
  • Darwin on the Green
  • A Round with Darwin
  • Every Idle Dream (Illustrated by Elinor Darwin, Collins, 1948)
  • British Golf (Collins, 1946)
  • British clubs
  • Tee shots and others
  • Batsford Golf: Green Memories
  • A Friendly Round
  • A round of golf jokes
  • The Games's Afoot! (Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd., 1926)
  • Life Is Sweet Brother (Collins, 1940)
  • Pack Clouds Away (Collins, 1941)
  • Playing the like
  • Golfing By-Paths (Country Life Ltd., 1946)
  • A round of golf on the London & North Eastern Railway
  • Second shots: Casual talks about golf
  • W. G. Grace: Great Lives (Duckworth, 1934)
  • The Robinsons of Bristol (E. S. & A. Robinson)
  • Eton v. Harrow at Lord's
  • Erasmus Darwin: Born 7 December 1881, killed in action 24 April 1915
  • The Tale of Mr. Tootleoo, with Elinor Darwin 1925. (For children.)
  • Tootleoo Two, with Elinor Darwin 1927. (For children.)
  • Mr. Tootleoo and Co., with Elinor Darwin 1935. (For children.)
  • The Dickens advertiser: A collection of the advertisements in the original parts of novels by Charles Dickens (Elkin Mathews & Marrot, 1930)
  • Fifty Years of Country Life (Country Life Ltd., 1947) (history of Country Life magazine)
  • Dickens: Great Lives (Duckworth, 1933)

Amateur wins[edit]

Results in major championships[edit]

Note: Darwin played in only The Amateur Championship.

Tournament 1898 1899
The Amateur Championship R32 R16
Tournament 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
The Amateur Championship DNP DNP R32 R64 R32 DNP DNP DNP QF SF
Tournament 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
The Amateur Championship R128 R16 R16 R128 R128 NT NT NT NT NT
Tournament 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
The Amateur Championship R256 SF R64 R128 R256 R64 DNP R256 R256 R64
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935
The Amateur Championship R512 R32 R128 R128 DNP R128

NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
R512, R256, R128, R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
Yellow background for top-10

Source for 1898 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 26 May 1898, pg. 11.

Source for 1899 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 25 May 1899, pg. 8.

Source for 1902 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 1 May 1902, pg. 11.

Source for 1903 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 20 May 1903, pg. 13.

Source for 1904 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 2 June 1904, pg. 13.

Source for 1908 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 29 May 1908, pg. 14.

Source for 1909 British Amateur: The American Golfer, July, 1909, pg. 13.

Source for 1910 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 1 June 1910, pg. 10.

Source for 1911 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 1 June 1911, pg. 10.

Source for 1912 British Amateur: The American Golfer, July, 1912, pg. 199.

Source for 1913 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 28 May 1913, pg. 15.

Source for 1914 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 20 May 1914, pg. 12.

Source for 1920 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 8 June 1920, pg. 12.

Source for 1921 British Amateur: The American Golfer, 4 June 1921, pg. 24.

Source for 1922 British Amateur: The American Golfer, 1 July 1922, pg. 30.

Source for 1923 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 9 May 1923, pg. 13.

Source for 1924 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 27 May 1924, pg. 3.

Source for 1925 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 27 May 1925, pg. 11.

Source for 1927 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 24 May 1927, pg. 10.

Source for 1928 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 22 May 1928, pg. 4.

Source for 1929 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 13 June 1929, pg. 10.

Source for 1930 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 27 May 1930, pg. 3.

Source for 1931 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 21 May 1931, pg. 16.

Source for 1932 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 26 May 1932, pg. 17.

Source for 1933 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 21 June 1933, pg. 5.

Source for 1935 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, 22 May 1935, pg. 7.

Team appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "Darwin, Bernard Richard Meirion (DRWN894BR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ "No. 34396". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1937. p. 3089.

External links[edit]