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. EDITED BY PROF. DAVID PURDIE - ILLUSTRATION BY SANDY ROBB
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
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
W-D: I have. It’s behind you, and close it
when you go out.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine