The Llandudno International Trophy: Its Long Journey to Become the Prize at the PGA Cup
Great Britain and Ireland Captain, DJ Russell and Captain and PGA of America Honorary President, Suzy Whaley pose with the Llandudno trophy during the 30th PGA Cup at Foxhills Golf Club on September 15, 2022 in Ottershaw, England. (Photo by Matthew Harris/PGA of America)
As well as bragging rights and a name in the history books, the coveted prize up for grabs at the 30th PGA Cup matches is a trophy steeped in history: the Llandudno International Trophy.
Named after one the largest ports in Wales, the Llandudno International Trophy began its humble beginnings as an 18-pound silverware prize for the Home Tournament Series, a leading tournament comprising of the leading professionals of the day in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
The first match was played in 1939 and England, captained by six-time Ryder Cup player Percy Alliss, triumphed to hoist the trophy. It was, however, to be the first and last staging of the Home Tournament Series which was interrupted due to the outbreak of the Second World War and never resumed.
As winning captain, Percy retained possession of the trophy to his personal collection and it took pride of place on the mantelpiece in the family home near Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset where he was the club professional.
However, during World War II when Germany’s relentless bombing missions against Britain reached a crescendo, the trophy took an unfortunate tumble. During one particular mission to rain havoc upon Southampton and Portsmouth, a German bomber was perilously low on fuel and had to turn its munitions loose on non-targets.
The Alliss family, innocently minding their own business, were jolted awake when one particular bomb exploded on the first fairway of the Ferndown course less than 50 yards from their home.
The ensuing tremor, which rumbled throughout the neighborhood, left a lasting impact, as Gary Alliss, grandson of Percy and a two-time PGA Cup captain himself, recounts:
“My grandmother (Dorothy) kept the trophy on the mantelpiece so of course when there was this massive explosion it literally shook the house and sent the trophy tumbling to the floor on its head, causing the dent in the lid,” he explained.
Battered, a little bruised but basically still intact, the trophy, which has since been repaired, stayed in the Alliss household until the early 1970s when Percy and his son Peter, the former PGA Captain, eight-time Ryder Cup player and the BBC’s Voice of Golf, donated the trophy to The PGA where it was assigned as an appropriate prize for the victorious PGA Cup team.
The scars of that famous tumble from more than 80 years ago are no longer visible under its lid. In fact, the Llandudno International Golf Trophy looks as good as new today. That’s thanks to silversmith, Samuel Pitt & Company, for performing a minor facelift on the 82-year-old piece of hardware.
“It was such an impressive trophy that I think my father and grandfather felt it deserved to be back with The PGA,” added Gary. “It was a trophy looking for a home and by happy coincidence the PGA Cup came along and it’s a perfect match.”