Sir William Robinson, the 11th governor of Hong Kong, played a major role in securing a Crown lease for land in Deep Water Bay with the Hong Kong Golf Club’s Happy Valley venue under pressure from the sheer numbers of people who wanted to play. This was in October 1897, but the governor succeeded in backdating the lease to June 22 of the same year, the day Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations had been marked around the Commonwealth. Robinson, the governor from December 1891 to January 1898, also helped the club attain its “Royal” status in October 1897. His influence prompted club captain and founder Gershom Stewart to describe the governor as “the best friend this Club has ever had”. More than 100 years on, and that label still sticks. Thanks to our friend His Excellency – I say it, gentlemen, without fear of contradiction, the best friend this Club has ever had Gershom Stewart In a bout of male bonding, Stewart and Robinson were taken to singing each other’s praises. Said Stewart in a speech: “...As we had in contemplation further extensive developments and improvements we applied to the Government for a lease, which, thanks to our friend His Excellency – I say it, gentlemen, without fear of contradiction, ‘the best friend this Club has ever had’ – we have been successful in obtaining. “I have estimated some of the material benefits which we have received from His Excellency, but there is a further and honourable one in receiving the title of which we are now the proud possessors. "It is entirely owing to the good office of His Excellency that we have obtained the title of ‘The Royal Hongkong Golf Club’; and on behalf of all golfers I promise ... that we will endeavour to show ourselves in the future worthy of belonging to a club so favoured.” In response, Robinson was equally endearing: “Gentleman, I am very glad that you have been made ‘The Royal Hongkong Golf Club’ – with a capital T also – but all the credit is not due to me. It was your gallant Captain who suggested it to me. He made the ‘approach shot’ and I, as it were, ‘holed out the ball’. “Mr Stewart has said I am the best friend The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club has ever had. I hope you think so too – many thanks for those cheers of concur. I am glad to hear them. It is indeed satisfactory to know that I shall leave behind me at least one kindly memory, and that my name will be perhaps forever identified with The Royal Hongkong Golf Club Sir William Robinson, Governor “Let me tell you what one of the ablest of England’s living Viceroys, Lord Dufferin, once said: ‘We Governors are but fleeting shadows and evanescent eidolons that haunt your history, but scarcely contribute a line to its pages.’ ... it is indeed satisfactory to know that I shall leave behind me at least one kindly memory, and that my name will be perhaps forever identified with The Royal Hongkong Golf Club ...” Gubernatorial assistance would also come in handy in the years before the Fanling course opened in 1911 with Governor Sir Henry May helping to deal with local farmers in acquiring the extra land needed to fit the layout design.