Why learning as a youngster is so important to the future of golf
How many of the readers have played at Auchterarder Golf Club? I would bet most of you have played at Gleneagles – but perhaps not it’s older cousin. In fact Auchterarder GC pre-dates the 2 original courses at Gleneagles by nearly 30 years. I was proud to have been a member at Auchterarder for around 3 decades having learned to play golf there when it was still a wee 9 hole course back in the 1960s. In those days the junior subscription for a year was 10 shillings (50p in today’s money) and the Gents annual fee was £4 2s 6d – which is around the price of a pint these days. We were incredibly lucky as junior golfers as we were encouraged by all of the adult members and well drilled and marshalled ( no pun intended ) by the great Davie Marshall who was himself no mean player. A man a great foresight he knew how important is was to encourage the youngsters of the town to play the wonderful game of golf – and oh did we respond to Davie’s encouragement ! Each Friday evening around 30 or sometimes 40 kids turned up to play in the junior competition – and we all knew because of Davie ruling with an iron fist you played by the rules – but we all played hard and produced some great players – a few years later we had 6 out 0f a 10 man Perthshire team – all from wee Auchterarder. One of our crew went on to play Walker Cup, win the British Boys ( beating Sandy Lyle in the final) and played over 20 years on the European Tour – well done Brian Marchbank. Another of our team has been one of the most respected club pros in Scotland and is now the Chairman of the British PGA – a credit to Auchterdarder is David Murchie – and incidentally old Davie Marshall will be ‘up there’ being very proud indeed as David is his grandson.
And so onto today – Auchterarder is one of the most successful clubs in the country – now a beautiful 18 hole woodland / parkland course with great greens, really interesting layout and a credit to Head Greenkeeper Archie Dunn and his team – and Archie was also one of the juniors back in the 60s and 70s and no mean player himself.
Last week I was delighted to arrange a match at Auchterarder with one of Morton Golf Holidays longest standing clients – Jim Coomer – see the attached photo. What is even more special for yours truly is when a client becomes one of your best friends which is what has happened over the years for my wife Fiona and I – Jim is very special to us and we had a great lunch in the clubhouse after the match. Jim and I play for the “ Coomer Fiver “ each times he comes to Scotland – he has been coming here for 20 years and has played nearly 60 golf courses in Scotland – not too many Americans can say that. The Coomer Fiver ( 5 bucks ) stayed in Scotland this time round but it is here in my office waiting to be up for grabs in the 2018 version of the match.
The photo shows Jim standing beside a lovely plaque to commemorate how the members at Auchterarder Golf Club struck a deal with Ryder Cup Europe before the 2014 matches – you see the 6th fairway at Auchterarder runs along side the 15th on the PGA Centenary at Gleneagles – so the deal was if you don’t jump over the fence we’ll be very happy for your members and guests to watch the action from your side of the fence – and you can see from where Jim is standing that was a matter of about 50 yards!
And one last note for now on the great Auchterarder Golf Club – take a look at the Honorary Members Board – not a bad list – Trevino, Crenshaw, Marchbank, Peter Allis – the makings of not a bad scratch league team !!
So guys – do yourselves a favour – the next time you come to Scotland to play the “big courses” and you include Gleneagles in your itinerary – take a little extra time and add Auchterarder to your play list – you will be delighted you did so.
Peter Craigon, MD Morton Golf Holidays 26/9/17