The 44th instalment of the prestigious Ryder Cup will take place this autumn just outside Rome, but the first games originated in St Albans in 1927.

It all began with Samuel Ryder, who was an entrepreneur, golf enthusiast and promoter living in St Albans.

He initiated the Ryder Cup as a series of matches between professional golfing teams from both Great Britain and the USA.

Herts Advertiser: Samuel Ryder holding the Ryder Cup.Samuel Ryder holding the Ryder Cup. (Image: Verulam Golf Club)

At the time, many golfers were unable to partake in competitions due to travelling costs. Ryder and his brother began sponsoring golf competitions to support these local golfers.


Ryder moved to St Albans from Manchester in 1895 to grow his business as a seed merchant. His idea to sell seeds in ‘penny packets’, combined with his access to numerous train stations allowed Ryder to post seeds directly to customers across the country.

Ryder’s golfing legacy occurred almost by accident – he was encouraged to take up golf as a form of respite from his hectic business and soon became hooked.

Herts Advertiser: Samuel Ryder became mayor of St Albans in 1905.Samuel Ryder became mayor of St Albans in 1905. (Image: St Albans Museums)

In 1909, he joined St Alban’s Verulam Golf Club where he would go on to be captain three times.

Verulam Golf Club is home to memorabilia to honour its iconic history, including a portrait of Samuel Ryder and a striking gallery of several other golfing legends.

Paul Keen, general manager at Verulam Golf Club, shares his pride for the club's association with Samuel Ryder and to be the birthplace of “one of the most competitive sporting events in the world”.

“It is a privilege to be the club where the idea of Ryder Club was devised, the iconic trophy was commissioned and where the visionary Samuel Ryder was a member,” Paul explained.

Herts Advertiser: Ryder’s golfing legacy occurred almost by accident.Ryder’s golfing legacy occurred almost by accident. (Image: St Albans Museums)

“Visitors to our clubhouse can enjoy displays of unique golfing memorabilia honouring Ryder and the history of the sport.”

St Albans is recognised as an excellent base for golfing holidays in Hertfordshire. The city is forever marked in sporting history as the home of the Ryder Cup.

Herts Advertiser: Samuel Ryder's Seed Hall in St Albans.Samuel Ryder's Seed Hall in St Albans. (Image: St Albans Museums)

Ryder’s legacy is being celebrated by St Albans Museums and St Albans Tour Guides with an exhibition in the Assembly Room at St Albans Museum + Gallery.

The exhibition is free and is running from September 9 to October 27. To check exact times and dates, click here.