Royal Golf at Birkdale and Mayfair, but what about a ‘Royal Palm Beach’?

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /
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royal golf
15th May 1860: Queen Victoria and her beloved Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, at Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) /

British Royal golf in Germans & the Czech Republic?

As we contemplate the possibility of a royal golf club in the United States, a look at the geographical exceptions, Royal Homburger in Germany and Royal Mariánské Lázně in the Czech Republic, are instructive. Both which received royal status from Queen Elizabeth II. But both clubs have a history with the Royal Family.

Royal Homburger Golf Club in Germany was founded in 1899, and it was more than 100 years between royal association and the royal title. The club’s first president was the Duke of Cambridge, a cousin of Queen Victoria. Its first honorary member was the Prince of Wales who subsequently became Edward VII. Royal Homburger somehow survived WWI and WWII and continues today as Germany’s oldest golf club. Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed its royal status in 2013.

Royal Mariánské Lázně in the Czech Republic was once part of Germany.  It is another WWI and WWII survivor, and it also survived the U.S.S.R. takeover of Czechoslovakia. The course was opened by Edward VII in 1902. At the time, it was a 9-hole course and a second nine was added in 1923.  However, its royal association is credited to Lady Luisa Abrahams, the Czech lady’s golf champion in 1938. Through golf, she met Henry Cotton, then the British Open champ, and he invited her to the U.K. to play in a tournament, and as it happened, saving her from the Nazi takeover of her home country.  In England, she met and married Charles Abrahams and became Lady Luisa Abrahams.  Through her charity work, she met Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband.  The club’s royal status came in 2003, from Queen Elizabeth II, more than 100 years after the club had its first royal connection.

The likely reason both of these clubs received royal status is that Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, who was German and from a town east of Frankfurt, not far from both clubs and both clubs had connections to Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth II is her great, great, granddaughter.