Samuel Ryder was born in Preston Lancashire on 24th March in 1858. He was the son of a Manchester corn merchant and was educated at Manchester University.
Ryder joined the family business and worked for his father in Manchester. He came up with the idea of selling penny seed packets to gardeners, a plan his father had little time for so in 1895 he moved to St Albans in Hertfordshire where he later established the very sucessful Heath and Heather Seed Company.
In 1905 Ryder’s star was on the rise, a very successful businessman, he was elected Mayor of St Albans. Unfortunately his health suffered due to overwork and doctors prescribed fresh air and light exercise as part of the cure. He was encouraged to take up golf. Ryder at first spurned the idea as he was reared on cricket but later relented and engaged the services of Hill (a local professional golfer) to teach him the rudiments of the sport. Having had a taste of golf he then pursued it with a passion. Ryder employed the golf star Abe Mitchell as his exclusive instructor at an annual fee of £1,000. Ryder then undertook a rigorous golf regimen and practised six days a week for a year at his home, Marlborough House.
By age 51, he boasted a six handicap and joined the Verulam Golf Club in St Albans in 1910. Within a year he was elected Captain of the club, and later held the title in 1926 and ’27. He sponsored a Heath and Heather Tournament in 1923, which was restricted to professionals.
He became so enthusiastic about the game that he agreed to sponsor the Ryder Cup a solid gold trophy for a biennial golf championship between the best of professional golfers in the USA and the UK – this competition is know as the Ryder Cup Matches
Samuel Ryder died on Jan 2nd 1936 and is buried in Hatfield Cemetery.