You know Oxford and Cambridge have a famous Boat Race, but did you also know they have an annual golf match?

Golf’s Boat Race: The Oxford and Cambridge Golf Match

Oxford and Cambridge have been rivals since the latter university was founded by Oxford scholars escaping from a mob of angry townspeople in 1209.

The boffs fled to Cambridge where they swiftly set up a university and Oxford and Cambridge have been the bitterest of foes ever since.

Aside from the academic competition between the two institutions, the most famous Oxford versus Cambridge event of the year is the Boat Race.

More relevant for golfers, however, is the fact that the universities also play a yearly Varsity match in golf.

The existence of the match is not now much known about by the golfing public, but it wasn’t always so low-profile.

The match was inaugurated in 1878, making it officially the oldest amateur event in the game (the British Amateur Championship was first played in 1885 by comparison) and it is also the oldest extant team competition in English golf.

Many famous figures have taken part in the Oxford and Cambridge golf match including the celebrated journalist Bernard Darwin, who captained the Cambridge side in 1897.

The ex- R&A chief executive Peter Dawson is also an Oxbridge golfing alumni.

Golf's Boat Race: The Oxford and Cambridge Golf Match

Ex- R&A chief executive Peter Dawson has played in the Oxford and Cambridge Varsity match

He read engineering at Cambridge, played in multiple varsity matches during his three years as a student at the university and also, as Darwin did, captained the team.

Back when Dawson was roaming the university’s quads, Cambridge usually got the victory over their Oxford rivals, but in recent years momentum has swung the other way.

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Oxford have been undefeated in the match since 2009, having bested their opponents in a record-breaking 8 matches-and-counting in a row.

This year, however, Cambridge are confident about ending the run.

Golf's Boat Race: The Oxford and Cambridge Golf Match

A R Nall Cain and W F Pharazyn, captains of Oxford and Cambridge respectively in the 1925 Varsity match, have some fun with a photo before the game.

They recently achieved an important win over the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society (who they had previously not beaten in over five years) and the side’s 2018 captain, Adam Parkes is feeling bullish about the Light Blues’ chances.

“We had an opportunity to snap [Oxford’s] streak a few years back but we didn’t take it, since then Oxford’s squad depth has helped them over the line, but I don’t think there is any reason we can’t win this year,” Parkes has been quoted as saying.

“Being a young team too there is no scar tissue either; we have every chance.”

This year’s Varsity match will take place on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th March at Royal Porthcawl, comprising of five 36-hole foursomes games played on the Friday and ten 36-hole singles on the Saturday.

Entry is free of charge.

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