A foreword from Dr. Neil Phillips who conceived the idea of the Malvern Bowl.

In 1985, I was appointed Vice Captain at The Worcestershire Golf Club. My son Michael was also a Member at the Club. It was his suggestion that, in 1988, the  year of my Captaincy, we should arrange a telephone golfing match against a Golf \Club from Malvern in Pennsylvania U.S.A.

The problem was, we had no knowledge of any Golf Clubs in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Michael researched the relevant Golf Clubs and came up with two Clubs who hosted major competitions in the U.S.A. The two Clubs were “White Ladies”, who hosted a national Ladies’ competition and “Chester Valley” who hosted a USPGA Seniors’ competition. With no knowledge of either Club, Michael and I decided to spin a coin and Chester Valley was chosen.

A letter was written to Chester Valley inviting them to play a golf match over the telephone. This invitation was immediately accepted (See the letter here). Teams of over thirty players would be paired off in a singles match. Each player would play off their handicap, against the  par of their own course, Here at Malvern we chose from the players who were already signed up to play in a Saturday  Medal Competition.
The individual results were telephoned across the Atlantic, when both teams had completed their rounds. Chester Valley was the comfortable winner of the telephone match. Shortly after the telephone match The Worcestershire received a letter from the Chester Valley Captain Tim O’Reilly. Tim said how much everyone at Chester Valley had enjoyed the telephone match, but posed the question “Wouldn’t it be more fun if we actually came over and played you in the UK?”
The matter was discussed by the Worcestershire Board of Directors who agreed to stage the match. The first face to face match took place in the summer of 1988. The Americans stated that over sixty of their members- golfers and their families- had expressed an interest in making the trip to The Worcestershire for the inaugural match. In fact over seventy Americans visited us for the first face to face match between the two Club.

Detailed preparations then began at The Worcestershire; Members were invited to volunteer as hosts, in order that the residential costs of the visitors were free. The Board of Directors agreed that no green fees would be payable by the visitors during their stay. Matching up the families from the USA, with families in England proved great fun and personality profiles were carried out on participating members in order that people with similar likes and dislikes were paired together. The profiling proved very beneficial and most families fitted each other extremely well.

The visit was enhanced by the then Chairman of the Club, Ken Whimster, who presented a magnificent Caithness Glass Bowl for the competition. The inaugural competition was played on the well established Ryder Cup formula with Single, Foursomes and Fourball Matches. On hearing of the visit, The Mayor of Malvern organised a pre-tournament Civic Reception for both Clubs at The Malvern Theatre. The Mayor also attended the prize giving at the Club on the final evening of the competition.

The first match was won by The Worcestershire by a solitary game. Jim Matthews, the then President of Chester Valley, was playing in the last crucial match. Jim lost his match on the seventeenth hole, whilst everyone else was congregated on the staircase outside the old Clubhouse at the back of the 18th. Green. The final two players convinced their supporters from a distance that their match was still alive as they played the eighteenth hole, You could hear a pin drop as they both players putted out to halve the hole and halve the match, when in fact The Worcestershire had won the final game and thus the match on the seventeenth hole.

At the evening presentation, attended by the Mayor of Malvern, the Club Chairman, all the players, wives and partners, the original Malvern Bowl was presented to the Captain of The Worcestershire as the winning Captain. Tim O’Reilly presented The Worcestershire with a Pennsylvanian China Bowl and The Worcestershire Captain presented Chester Valley with a personal gift of framed Cigarette Cards of some fifty famous British Golf Clubs. The framed cards now reside in the Chester Valley Club House.

At the end of the tournament, it was decided that the event would become a biannual event on a home and away basis. The first ladies match was incorporated in 1990 when the two Clubs played for “The Malvern Lady” – a porcelain figure of a lady golfer presented to the two Clubs by Neil & Margaret Phillips.