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The History of the RIBA-AIA International Golfing Society

In the summer of 1976, Dai Davies, an architect from Great Britain, who had just completed his tenure as Captain of the Royal Institute of Architects Golfing Society when he decided to present an idea to the American Institute of Architects to start a golfing society composed of architects from Great Britain and the United States.  Mr. Davies began by sending a letter to the Secretary of the AIA, Win Rankin, who replied immediately confirming interest in the challenge.  Mr. Rankin asked Carter Williams of North Carolina to lead the AIA team as their first Captain.  Subsequently, he enlisted Bill Rose of New York and Tom Hayes of Pinehurst, North Carolina who were enlisted to assist in the organization of the first team.  Members of the AIA were given an opportunity to join the AIA team through an invitation included in the August 1976 edition of the Memo, the newsletter of the American Institute of Architects.  Initially, the competition was planned to be in  April of 1977 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.  However, due to the sagging economy in Great Britain, the inaugural matches were moved to the Gleneagles Hotel and Country Club in Scotland on July 22-25, 1977.  Shortly before the competition, Dai Davies, the RIBA Captain, mailed a Letter of Final Instructions to the participants.  After two rounds of competition, the AIA came from behind to win and the final results were published in the October 1977 edition of the AIA Journal.



Tom Hayes, Bob Clark and Jack Train

at St. Andrews 

Awards Dinner at Gleneagles Hotel

The following remembrances of the first competition are from charter members of the RIBA-AIA International Golfing Society:

Dai Davies, RIBA


"I had just completed a year as captain of the RIBAGS in 1976 (I think) and returned from a holiday in Arizona when I thought how interesting it would be to challenge the AIA to a golf match. The RIBAGS did not have any cash available for such a trip and so I decided to enquire of the AIA personally to see if they would enjoy such an occasion. Before doing so I gathered eight like minded people who promised to travel to the U.S.A. for such a match even if no others volunteered. The eight were Bill Jenkins, Colin Jones, Tim Voss, Stan Amiss, Michael Lyell, Jim Bell, Geoff Rainbird and me. 


I did not know who would be running such a society in the U.S.A. so I addressed my invitation to the Secretary of the AIA and I was delighted to receive a reply from Win Rankin almost by return of post. He said that the AIA did not have such a golf society probably because they had not "gotten round" to it but would certainly do so. He had already spoken to two leading members of the Institute, Carter Williams and Bill Rose who agreed to help with its foundation. Bill wrote to me after about four weeks to say that he thought that he had secured thirty to forty players and their wives to attend our first meeting, and he would investigate courses on the Eastern seaboard to see if they would host such an event. This frightened me to death because we had moved at such a pace and the AIA now possibly had forty players to take on our team of eight. Furthermore, the UK economy was in dire straits and many practices were short of work and losing staff.


To my great pleasure the idea of the match was well supported in the UK and it looked likely that we would have enough players to match the AIA team, but there was general concern about the cost of the event as the pound and the dollar were about at par. This of course made visiting the UK good value for Americans, and so I called Bill Rose and suggested that he might consider changing the venue to Scotland where Gleneagles were able to host the event. Bill was immediately keen on the idea and, having gained full support from the Committee, the first match was booked at Gleneagles and the organisation started in earnest.


In the spring of 1977, Bill Rose informed me he would be in London on business and suggested we should meet at his hotel to discuss various organisational matters. When we did meet I was delighted to learn that he had been elected a member of Sunningdale Golf Club in the January of that year. This was exactly the same date and Committee meeting that I also had been elected to the same club. This has led to a long and lasting friendship between families which all started with the first RIBA vs. AIA match.


The event was organised from Friday to Sunday, but proceedings were delayed by the late arrival of the American team on Freddie Lakers' flight. There was instant camaraderie when the teams met, and travel problems were soon forgotten. The weather on both days was simply horrendous and we awoke to see rain being driven horizontally across our windows, but there was never any doubt that the match would be played. Gary Wirth was heard to say that he had not flown 3,000 miles to lay up, and so we progressed with the match, followed by dinner on Saturday night. The weather did improve on Sunday and the prize-giving was held that evening."

Win Rankin, Executive Director, AIA


"Each of you golfers can imagine the excitement in my AIA office in the summer of 1976, when I received a letter from Dai Davies of the RIBA stating that their society had chapters that had annual golf competitions. It occurred to them that it would be enjoyable if we would join them and form an international golf society, RIBA and AIA.


There wasn't a moment's hesitation!


I just happened to know the right man and I called (the late) Carter Williams, FAIA, in North Carolina, a fine architect, great golfer and leader (Past Chapter President). I suggested he should be our first Captain and get this event off on the right foot. He was enthusiastic and accepted the role. I then asked the Board of Directors of AIA to agree to make this an AIA function with no financial commitment, and they promptly agreed.


I informed Dai Davies all was set. We agreed to meet in London at his club, since I was going to be there on an AIA trip and at that time we concluded all arrangements for the first meeting.


Dai arranged for the first "venue" to be Gleneagles, Scotland, which is as fine a place as anyone could want. After that it would be in the U.S. one year and Great Britain the next (later we made it every two years).


Plans for the first meeting were begun. I wrote an article about our plans in the AIA Memo, which went to all members, explaining the tournament and inviting all AIA golfers to become part of this venture, regardless of handicap. More than 60 responded. Plans and costs were developed and a second notice went out to the group. At this point, about 35 responded and down payments were made.


We thought it would be good if we could get reduced airfares for such a large group. We found that Jimmy Lakers just started a new airline, and we were able to get a good bargain. Well, the airline was new alright. It didn't arrive until half a day late, but Mr. Lakers was honest, and he put us up in a hotel in New York, and we eventually got to Glasgow, but very late at night. Still we were met by the British contingent, who greeted us enthusiastically, and we may have had a dram or two before bedtime. It should be noted that the Gleneagles Hotel is widely considered one of the four or five best hotels in Europe and Britain. In addition, it has three magnificent golf courses (located in the mountains, not on the shore), the King's, the Queen's and the Prince's. A more auspicious beginning could not be imagined.


The second year was equally as great. We were treated to the opportunity to play Winged Foot, surely one of the top two or three courses in the U.S.  We were just lucky that Bill Rose, FAIA, was a member of our team, and is also a member of Winged Foot. What a beginning!"

Lloyd Kranert, AIA


"Seventy-five responded with interest to the first notice issued to all chapters; however, only 35 sent in their first payment to go.

Plans were made for all to meet in New York and to fly out together on Freddie Lakers' Airline at a reduced fare for the group.  This flight did not fill the plane, so Freddie canceled the flight until the next day and put us up overnight in a "flea bag" motel.  We took off late the next day bound for Prestwick.  Plans were to arrive early evening at Gleneagles.  However, due to numerous delays, our bus from Prestwick arrived at 2 a.m.  We were greeted by the Brits who had partied all night waiting for our arrival.  We were told to check in, put our luggage in the rooms and to come back to the party, which went on for the rest of the morning.  We teed off in our first match at 7 A.M. with no sleep, on top of jet lag!  Needless to say, we lost every match the first day.  Day two, we won half of our matches.  On the third day, we could win the tournament if all matches were won.  Believe it or not, we won every single match on the 18th green.  Walter Carry and Lloyd Kranert won the top honors.


The next year's venue was held in upstate New York.  We played two days at Winged-Foot and two days at Westchester.  Again, the AIA was victorious.  Wingfoot was a beautiful layout.  There were 50+ workers manicuring the course on Monday while we played.  Winners were Bob Clark and Lloyd Kranert."

Bill Rose, FAIA


"I responded to the article in the AIA Memo and was subsequently drafted along with Tom Hayes, FAIA of Pinehurst, NC to do some organization on our end.  Tom was to suggest and negotiate the form of competition; and I was to suggest any social activities, side trips, etc.  As it happened I was in London in early 1977 to attend an automobile auction of all things and after the challenge had been accepted.  During this trip Dai and I got together and picked out some prizes - notably two crystal ship's decanters and some stone-base pen holders among others.  Later I had some brass plates engraved to note the tournament and also some bag tags from Miller Golf.


In July of 1977, Sandy and I flew separately to Great Britain to pick up the car I had purchased at the auction and to do some touring prior to the tournament.  As Win and Lloyd reported, the team was late in arriving, so the Brits asked me to join them in their practice round on the King's Course at Gleneagles.  I gladly accepted and proceeded to shoot my all-time low score of 66, whereupon I suggested that since I was only a 4-handicap player, Charley Moroney, our scratch player from Louisiana, who unfortunately had to cancel, would probably shoot 60!  We all waited up for the AIA team to arrive and the Brits graciously organized a little late-night reception when they did finally show.


Contrary to Lloyd's recollection the RIBA scored six points on the first morning and the AIA scored two points.  I have a photocopy of the tournament results to prove this.  The AIA's points came from two halved matches by Snyder-Rose and Gartner-Clark, and one outright win by Kranert-Carry.  I'm surprised Lloyd forgot this!  The following morning we got our act together and outscored the RIBA by a score of 6-1 for an outright win by the AIA 8-7.


RIBA-AIA II was played at Winged Foot and Westchester Country Club, which are about 5 miles apart.  I arranged for the local Westchester Chapter, AIA, to host some RIBA attendees and also put on two continuing education programs - one on legal issues, and the other on a successful architects-in-schools program.


I'm curious as to the AIA's recognition of the AIA Golf Team, which Win claims he secured.  I have copies of correspondence from Carter Williams requesting recognition, though without any funding or administrative support, and Elmer Botsai's response as the AIA President, which declined any recognition.  Both he and the following president, Ehrman (Bud) Mitchell detested golf.  I served on the AIA Board beginning in 1979 just as Mitchell came into office.  Later that year, Mitchell announced an AIA fund-raising campaign which he would chair, and seizing the opportunity to rub his nose in it, I rose during that Board meeting and offered the first contribution of $100 from the AIA golfers.  This contribution came from the profits from RIBA-AIA II.  Trying a different tack for recognition, while I was a member of the AIA's Executive Committee in 1982, I requested and received approval to use the AIA's logo for our venture during an Executive Committee meeting.  As far as I know, this approval has never been rescinded."

Wayne Snyder, AIA


"The late summer/early fall mailing of the AIA MEMO, a monthly publication much in the format of the Kiplinger Letter, included a brief invitation to send to solicit National  interest in participating in a golf match against members of the RIBA. The Match was to be held the following summer. I responded and Win Rankin followed with periodic updates. Joyce and I had decided that we would travel independently and spend the week prior at Turnberry. Consequently we missed the Freddie Laker experience. Just prior to leaving we received the roster of those attending with a brief personal description of those going. A couple from Cincinnati stood out as they also were going early and traveling throughout Scotland. I called Jack Gartner and made arrangements to meet at Turnberry. Consequently we have been lifelong friends of Ro and Jack.

We arrived at Gleneagles on time only to learn most were detained. I remember playing in the rain and value of the towel warmers as we dried our clothing daily and tried to do the same for our shoes.

While at Turnberry, where the '77 Open was contested, I asked the Pro if he could get me at starting time at Murfield . He did and I could take two others. Ian Sieveright, a young 1 handicap from the RIBA Team and Tom Hayes from Southern Pines, SC. played. At the invitation of Captain Hamner, we spent a most enjoyable lunch discussing Architecture and concluded having a glass of sherry with Captain Hamner."

Gary Wirth, AIA


"In late summer of 1976, I responded to a request for interest printed in the AIA Memo pertaining to a possible Golf Competition between the AIA and RIBA. I understood that the competition format would essentially be a "Home and Home" tourney playing desirable courses in Scotland and the East Coast of the United States. As far as I know, there was no thought then that the competition would take on a life of its own and grow into what it is today.


Being from the West Coast, I had no particular interest in flying to the East Coast and connecting up with a Charter Flight that many AIA members had determined was best for them. In addition, I had developed a great interest in the British Isles Megalithic culture and I wanted to visit as many sites as I could; both before and after the competition. So, over the Pole my wife Chris and I went - from San Francisco to London, and fortunately we missed the Freddie Laker fiasco in its entirety.

With our rental car, we began hitting as many megalithic sites as possible on the way up to Gleneagles - six days away. What a brilliant move! With the elimination of sleep deprivation, Jet-Lag and a stop after 3 days at a roadside "hitting cage", I managed to keep some semblance of a golf swing intact. We arrived at Gleneagles on Thursday morning, so I could get in an extra practice round and meet any other early arrivers. The main portion of the AIA team members were to arrive late that evening by Charter Coach from Prestwick Airport. So the few Americans in early attendance joined the Brits in some hellacious pre-tourney welcoming and greeting. Then word came later that evening the Americans were still in New Jersey and wouldn't arrive until the next night. You'd think that would have put a pall over the festivities, but the Brits put a good spin on it by promising an even bigger welcoming party the next night.


The next day, what few AIA team members were in attendance (I recall only 5-6) mixed up with the Brits and played the originally scheduled Practice Round under weather conditions that were clear and dry. As I previously knew absolutely no team members from either the AIA or RIBA sides, this was a wonderful time to meet the Brits as we few Americans were the center of their attention. After the round we had a wonderful Gleneagles meal that had originally been planned as the welcoming dinner for both teams. Then, party on we did in anticipation of the later arrival of the full AIA contingent. They did finally arrive about midnight and a sorrier looking bunch couldn't have been mustered if you had gone down to 1st street in Glasgow. This was not a prime contender team. But to their rooms they went with luggage and most returned to the bar to put new life in their tank, which had been running on fumes for the past 24 hours.


Competition started early the next morning and went about like what you would expect from a group of hung over Brits playing a group of Jet-lagged hung over Americans. At the end of the day the Americans managed two splits and a win for a 6 to 2 thrashing by the Brits. Even though I was one the few well rested Americans, I was unable to bring a victory back to the clubhouse that very forgettable 1st day. The weather was horrendous, but since I had brand new rain gear (who had old rain gear in California); I managed to stay fairly dry.  And the hotel room towel warmers worked wonders overnight for our shoes. The evening cocktail dinner party was a huge hit, having everyone finally in attendance and with the Americans spending a lot of money on drinks for our 1st day victorious Brits. It was critical for us to make sure they really appreciated what they had done in bringing us to our knees and getting themselves in a position where they couldn't lose.


We awoke for the second and last day of our competition, with weather as bad as it was for our 1st day. During the course of the last two days after I had gotten to Gleneagles on time, I enjoyed the comradery and new friendships of several RIBA team members. Among those players were Dai Davies and Gordon Thom; two of the better golfers on the British team and Dai was their Captain. It must be remembered that back in the original few tournaments, we played all matches level - no strokes. The Captains paired Bob Eddy and myself against Dai and Gordon in the last group; I'm sure thinking that by then the match would certainly be over. Bob being the wily old veteran of several Senior Amateur tournaments and myself, a rather competitive aggressive player, ended up being a pretty good team and managed to stay with the two stars of the British team throughout the match - sometimes up and sometimes down; but always close. And we weren't alone; word finally spread through our last matches that the Americans had won several of the early matches and were making a tournament of it.  Several other of the later starting AIA members were also playing great and were winning or halving their matches.


Bob and I came to the 18th hole one up, and as we would find out just after we hit our drives, with just our match to go, the tournament was dead even. Impossible. Unbelievable. As we got to the green, it was surrounded by all the team members and the air was full of excitement. This is what we really all came here for: the competition, comradery, and passion. Dai had a 15 foot putt for a birdie and missed, but had a gimmie for his Par. I had the last remaining play with an 8 foot putt for a par which would tie the hole and win our match and the tourney for the AIA. You know I probably wouldn't be writing about this if the putt didn't go in. What an Awards Banquet it was that night, and I still cherish the Deluxe Leather Cased Backgammon game that Bob and I each won as the AIA Team with the best Tournament Score.


Monday morning, after our goodbyes, several AIA team members, and a few RIBA members, had arranged to go over to St. Andrews and stay at The Russicks and play the Old Course twice over the next couple days, before splitting up and heading our separate ways.


The mold was set and we all couldn't wait for the return match the following year in New York. For those of us still around and able to play, those early friendships have remained through the years and are still much anticipated for renewal from tournament to tournament."

Henry Lambon, RIBA


"I was fortunate enough to play in the 'inaugural' match at Gleneagles and in the 'return' next year at Winged Foot. Both superb venues and top courses. 


Being a 'lowly assistant' in those days I couldn't afford Gleneagles' prices, so Howard Spencer and I stayed in a bed and breakfast in Perth (great breakfast and a bath long enough to swim in!).


Events that I recall are:


News came in that an American (Bill Rose) had shot a gross 66 in the practice round which scared the pants off us Brits - what have we done!


I played against Jack Gartner and Bob Clark and remember a Scottish squall hitting us as we played the 2nd hole on the Kings Course. Jack couldn't believe we actually played in such rain - we said its like that most of the time over here. He went into the pro shop at lunchtime and bought a complete set of waterproofs - then, of course, the sun came out.


Michael Andrews-Jones played and despite many attempts had not been able to get out of bunker on the eighteenth. He was presented at the dinner with a box of sand from the said bunker to mark the occasion!


For the return in 1978, I stayed with John & Jeannie Garment in White Plains and we remained in touch for many years.


I have a photo of Tom Hayes, Howard Warren, and myself at Westchester. I played with (the late) David Bowers and we managed to win a salver for the 'Best Brits'.


My memory is sketchy, but I thought the Brits won at Winged Foot and I do remember the US team standing in a circle after the match in an impromptu AGM.


Another vivid memory is of Gary Bowen holing a 92 foot putt at St Andrews and shooting level par on the Old Course against Newman Turner and myself.


Great days!"

More History to Follow........
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