After founding the garden city of Letchworth in 1903, Ebenezer Howard put together blueprints for a’‘town designed for healthy living’ just 15 miles south of it, which was to become Welywn Garden City. Part of this concern for people’s well being involved having no houses numbered 13, a superstition that remained until relatively recently.
A junior member of Welwyn Garden City Golf Club won the club championship twice, in 1974 and 1975. Twelve years later he won the Open Championship at Muirfield. His name? Nick Faldo.
Three more Welwyn Garden citizens will be hoping for Open glory this week.
Amateur Tom Lewis, 20, will be aiming to add the Silver Medal for leading amateur to the amateur medal he won in this year’s Australian Open. He has previously been successful around St George’s winning the Boys Amateur Championship here in 2009.
“I loved the course the moment I saw it and I’d like to think I can play well there again,” says the Walker Cup squad member.
“It’s a bit greener than it was in 2009, but it’s a driver’s course and that plays to my strengths. The rough is also a bit thicker than it was in 2009, but you should still have a shot unless you carve one a long way off line.”
Two others from the city will be teeing it up after being among the dozen who came through Local Final Qualifying.
“The funny thing is Tom and I talked about how cool it would be if we both qualified for Royal St George’s,” says one of them, 21-year-old rookie professional Tom Shadbolt, “but I don’t think for a second that either of us thought it would happen.”
The third of the trio, Mark Laskey, 26, started his golfing life as a member of Welwyn Garden City as Faldo did, before switching to Brocket Hall. “I’m so excited about playing in my first Major,” enthuses the Welsh international. “It really is a dream come true.”
But the dream need not stop there…