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Major RJM Warren-Dawlish M.C. has been Secretary of Royal St Luke’s Golf Club in Suffolk since 1985. A leading authority on the Rules of Golf, guerrilla tactics and continental drift, he has graciously agreed to publish items of his correspondence is these columns. The opinions, prejudices and obsessions expressed are his alone and do not (necessarily) reflect those of Golf International or Golf Today.

Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (Est. 1603)
pulsa inveni repulsa

Despite contributing to Golf International for some six years now, Major Roland Warren-Dawlish, Secretary of Royal St Luke’s Golf Club, has remained virtually unknown to this magazine’s editorial staff. Indeed, the Editor had only met him on three occasions, each time in the private room of the Bollinger Tent at The Open, when the Major reluctantly granted an audience. However, in view of the controversies surrounding the highly secretive Royal St Lukes GC, the Club Captain, Lord Portfield, was asked to intercede with his famous Secretary and to permit a Q&A session. Curiously, it was stipulated that this must take place at night. A verbatim transcript of the interview appears below:

Gi: Major, first let me say how delighted I was to hear from The Captain, that you had been finally persuaded to engage with us in a question & answ…
W-D: Get on with it.

Gi: Ok…right. Major, it appears that Royal St Lukes does not possess a website – is this the case?
W-D: It is.

Gi: Can you explain why?
W-D: A website is a structure elaborated by an arachnid; a spider to you. It has nothing to do with golf.

Gi: But do you not wish to be on the net?
W-D: The only thing I wish to be, or rather see, on a net is a salmon – or perhaps a sea-trout or a chubb. Chubb are excellent if grilled fresh with a dill sauce and thyme.

Gi: I see. We’d better move on. Major, have you reached a position on the extended putter controversy?
W-D: I have.

Gi: Excellent. What is it?
W-D: I adopt a semi-crouch. I place the lower end of the thing behind the ball, and jam the top end just below the ribs, the site of a good bayonet thrust. However, if it’s the new hyper-extended type, I insert the upper end into my mouth, first removing my dentures. These I hand to Williams with instructions that they must be placed in a pocket of my golf bag other than that in which he keeps his own teeth. I then clamp my gums around it to hold my head steady – and putt...

Gi: I see… has it improved your putting?
W-D: Not yet.

Gi: On another tack, has St Lukes activated your, if I may say so, highly controversial plans to combat slow play?
W-D: We have. All members playing in medal competitions are timed off the 1st tee. Any scorecard submitted more than 4 hours later will be torn up in the player’s presence by Sgt. Maj. Watkins, our Starter and Terminator. If that doesn’t work, the player’s car is clamped until the following weekend and a Final Warning is issued. If this is ignored, his locker is broken open by RSM Watkins and the contents auctioned in the Caddy Hut.

Gi: There have also been vague but disturbing reports in the press of slow-playing visitors being deliberately electrocuted on the golf course. Any truth in this?
W-D: Visitors and their caddies are routinely fitted with a Tayger®. This is a GPSenabled ankle tag, developed from the ‘Tazer’ device deployed by the Police. The tag reports the position of the visitor continuously as a moving dot on the Diorama on my office wall. Slow play triggers a buzzed warning from the Tayger®, which is succeeded by a 350 Volt electric shock if things don’t improve. (They usually do.)

Gi: I understand you’ve recently been in China to assist a Member of St Lukes in trouble with the authorities. Is this sort of thing a frequent occurrence?
W-D: Far too frequent. Frankly I’m fed up with it. In this case the Member, R.P. Harbottle, who claims to speak their lingo, was bidding to supply some new kit to improve bird’s-nest soup manufacture, apparently a big deal over there. In the course of his pitch, he described the Chinese official tender document as ‘obscure.’ At least that’s what he meant to say, but a tiny error in his pronunciation of the correct Mandarin word Mohŭ (模糊) led to it coming out as ‘reeking of the dung of a he-goat.’ This led to a riot, the police were called and old Harby found himself in a People’s Court charged with an impressive range of public order offences. The clot then chose to defend himself in Mandarin when, strap me, did he not describe the Judge’s opening statement as ‘obscure’ using the same duff pronunciation that got him there in the first place. Not unreasonably, the Judge blew a gasket and our man found himself in a Chinese pokey for six weeks without the option. I got him sprung by agreeing to reciprocity between St Lukes and the Jiangshan Fragrant Lotus Country Club. Don’t tell the Captain.

Gi: Remarkable. Major, you’ve now served 27 years as Secretary of Royal St Lukes. Any thoughts of retirement?
W-D: None! There’s so much still to do. I want the R&A to bring the Open back here. It’s been fifteen years now since the episode with my dog on the 17th green in the final round – and the Captain’s collapse at the Prize Ceremony – and tempers have cooled sufficiently on both sides for the matter to be revisited. We would insist, however, on running it Wimbledon-style.

Gi: Wimbledon style?
W-D: Exactly. If you play Wimbledon, you bring your rackets – but not your balls. They supply them. They’re all identical and cannot be served at more than 200 mph. Since we’ve ruled out extending the course, we’ve ruled in our new DL-275® golf ball, which cannot be hit more than 275 yards. And if any of the manufacturers want to argue, they’ll find they’ve got the wrong bull by the nuts. With 156 hopefuls each buying 72 balls at a fiver each, that’s a cool £56K for the Treasurer even before we settle down in the Bolly tent…

Gi: Thank you Major, for your time. Have you by any chance an opening here for a trained journalist?
W-D: I have. It’s behind you, and close it when you go out. Good night.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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