Historic Hope Cup centenary to be played next weekend

2014 winners of the AGA Hope Cup, Brodick Golf Club.

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The Arran Golfers Association’s (AGA) Hope Cup is set to make a return to Shiskine later this month after the first edition of the match was played there, and won by Shiskine, 112 years ago.

Since then the AGA Hope Cup has been played 99 times with the centenary edition of the tournament set for Saturday June 18 and 25.

The Hope Cup is the premier event on the gents’ golf calendar on Arran. Played over 18 holes, the format is teams of four, and it is foursomes (matchplay) played off scratch.

There are seven teams involved this year, including Lochranza Castle, and the home club gets a bye into the semi-finals. Each club also has a non-playing captain.

Eagerly anticipating the games, captain of Shiskine Andy Gray said: ‘Shiskine Golf Club looks forward to welcoming team captains, players and spectators to the 100th playing of the Hope Cup. Expect friendly rivalry and some great golf.’

The Hope Cup was presented to the association for a team game between the 10 (at that time) clubs by the MP for Buteshire, Sir Harry Hope of Dunoon, in 1909.

The following year the first edition of the Hope Cup was played in 1910 at Shiskine, and was won by Shiskine.

Shiskine has a history of winning the Hope Cup, however, over recent decades Brodick, Lamlash and Whiting Bay golf clubs have all been strong and players from any club can easily create an upset on the day.

Shiskine, as hosts, have that obvious advantage and will fondly remember the last time that they won on home turf which was in Shiskine’s centenary year of 1996, with Willie Kelso both as captain of the club and as a golfer in the winning team.

In 2008, in another game played at Shiskine, Whiting Bay were playing Brodick in the final.

That match went down to the final putt in the final game on the final green, with Brodick’s putt lipping out – otherwise it was extra holes – and thus Whiting Bay lifted the coveted trophy.

After that, and the last time that the Hope Cup was played at Shiskine, Brodick won in 2014 with the late Sid Sillars as non-playing captain.

There has been much drama and excitement over the years, so it is highly recommended to go along to support and spectate, and see the best of Arran golf, played in the true spirit of the game.

The AGA fixtures for the Hope Cup are as follows: Saturday June 18, AGA Hope Cup first round, starting at 4pm: Brodick v Lochranza Castle (winners will play host club Shiskine, next week), Corrie v Machrie Bay, Lamlash v Whiting Bay; Saturday June 25, AGA Hope Cup semi-finals start at 1pm, final tees off at 6pm.