Mr Castle must, I think, be deemed a fortunate man as regards his golf. He was a boy at school when the many attractions and beauties of the game had caused thousandsof men in England to regret that so many years of their lives had slipped away without a driver or iron ever having been in their hands.
Naturally, it was impossible for any boy with sporting instincts in him to see the heads of such vast numbers of men, many of them, too of mature years, completely turned by this wonderful game without a keen desire arising in him to follow in the footsteps of his elders. So it came about that at the age of fifteen, Mr. Castle commenced to drive and put, and laid the foundations of a career which it is not too much to say has been abnormally successful.
Fortune did not desert him in those early days for at Chiswick, on which links he started the game, he was constantly playing with such a performer as James Braid. Nobody, I fancy, realises what this means more fully than Mr. Castle himself, and he would probably be the first to admit that his present prominent position among the leading amateurs of the day is due in no small measure to the ex Champion’s admirable tuition. Realising to the full the vast benefit to be derived from playing with, and receiving hints from, men of this class, Mr. Castle has, during the last three years, played a. lot at Sunningdale with the Champion, from whom also, as may be imagined, many useful hints have been gleaned.
In 1894 Mr. Castle first got his name into print, when winning the Monthly Medal of the Chiswick Club, starting from the 11 mark. It seems, however, that this initial success did not greatly impress the minds of the handicappers, for he was shortly after put up to 13. It must be now somewhat amusing for those same handicappers to scrutinise the form of the man of whom in those days they seemed to hold such a. poor opinion.
It is impossible to go through all Mr. Castles successes, and it may be sufficient to touch upon some of his performances during the last three or four years, in which he has made his name known wherever the game is known. Perhaps the success of which Mr. Castle is most justly proud was that gained at Sandwich in 1902. There the St. George’s Vase, one of the prizes most coveted by amateur 'golfers, was carried off, and this win, of course, set the seal on his fame, and in conversations I have had with leading golfers. his name has nearly always cropped up as that of a man to whom, sooner or later, the Blue Riband of amateur golf will fall. Another notable success was achieved at Epsom in 1903, when Mr. Castle succeeded in winning the Brooks Cup and Rosebery Medal with the record score of 7l + 6=77. At Littlestone, too, the subject of this notice has been very “ busy ” from time to time, among other prizes which have fallen to his share being the Wintle Cleek won three times in succession, a Challenge Cup and the Erskine Goblets (foursomes), his partner being M. C. Hart. Challenge cups, too, have been won at Chiswick and Lahinch, so it can safely be said that the young golfer has not been idle during his short career.
Mr. Castle is a great record-breaker, for I think I am correct in stating that at Chiswick, Lahinch, Sunningdale,and Epsom, no amateur has been able to beat his 64, 72, 75, and 71. Mr. Castle’s favourite course is Lahinch, in regard to which he writes to me “'1 think the first ten holes are the very best I have ever played, and it is a magnificent course in my opinion.” With regard to his game, Mr Castle is certainly seen to most advantage when playing a full cleek shot to the hole, though it must be said that he is very nearly as deadly with his mashie. Unfortunately for him putting seems more or less “ a bore,” and as a consequence. his work on the green compares very unfavourably with that through it.
My space has run out, and I must take leave of Mr. Castle, only, however, in the full assurance that no long time will elapse ere I once again write his name as a winner.