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
From; The Secretary,
1 Links Road,
Suffolk SU3 1GC
Much as I love this place where I have been Secretary now
for nearly 30 years, there are times when I just have to
escape. There are physical and indeed mental consequences
from decades of dealing with such major irritants
as Members, Visitors, Servants and Persons in Trade – to
say nothing of the trotskyite Caddies & Allied Operatives
Union and the Healthy & Safe Executive. Incidentally, I hear
that the latter are are planning yet another Inspection, i.e.
invasion, despite their snoopers being fired on last year by
the Captain from the balcony and then being chased back
over the railway by our Irish wolfhounds.
Anyway, from time to time I have to get away – and
away, this weekend, I am going to get. A couple of days
in London and then on to Jersey, of which more in a
My London Club is the Guards & Cavalry (the ‘C&G’) in
Piccadilly just above Hyde Park Corner, from which it’s
just a 40 minute cab ride out to Sunningdale. The C&G is
a perennial delight from the huge Boot & Shoeshine
Room to the El Alamein Bar and from the gigantic rile
and RPG shooting gallery, to the tiny library. Here one
can socialise with real people for a change, not the barrow-
boy Johnnies now infesting the Drones Club.
Yes, real people like Brigadier Sir Marmaduke Penge,
the Falklands hero who was known in the Regiment as
‘Smarmy’ though he was anything but. He was in the
papers last week, poor sod, having been photographed
with his head firmly stuck in an ice-bucket at Quaglino’s.
At Guy’s Hospital his voice, from inside the bucket, told
the curious A&E docs (in muffled tones) that he had been
demonstrating the dangers of the new MoD steel helmet,
when his head slipped. This, by the way, is the helmet
that those Healthy & Safe wallahs want our greenkeepers
and caddies to wear, together with Kevlar knickers to
protect their reproductive apparatus. Balls; it will not
happen on my watch, I can tell you.
Smarmy was never a great reader, as I recall from our
time in the Cavalry together during the Oman emergency.
This came out last month when he was passing the open
door of the C&G Library, inside which was my nephew
Piers. While waiting for me, he happened to be perusing
Fitch-Davenport’s classic British Army Laundry Services
in the Ashanti Campaign, 1871-3. Smarmy looked into
the library, saw Piers and stopped; another classic
exchange then followed:
Piers: Good morning, sir.
Smarmy: Readin’ a book?
Piers: Er… yes.
Smarmy: Splendid. I read a book once…[pause]. Black
Beauty – that was it! Bloody good…
And so to Jersey, where I have been kindly invited to
address the Annual Dinner of the great Royal Jersey Golf
Club at Grouville. Much younger than St Luke’s of course,
but a fine club for all that. Both Harry Vardon (six Opens)
and Ted Ray (one) were Jerseymen and Grouville-born.
Both will feature in another speech I have to give in
August when The Country Club at Brookline celebrates
the centenary of Francis Ouimet’s famous win in the
1913 US Open. In the playoff, brilliantly described in The
greatest Game ever Played by Mark Frost, the 20 year-old
amateur Ouimet sensationally overcame both Ray and
Vardon. This was the coming of age of American golf and
it inaugurated a rising US domination of the game which
has lasted until recently.
Ouimet would later become the first American Captain
of the R&A while his caddy, the diminutive 10 year-old
Eddie Lowery went on to outgrow, in height, the bag he
carried that day. He also went on to become a millionaire
automobile dealer in San Francisco and play, as did his
comedian friend Bob Hope, in the 1951 Amateur
Championship at Porthcawl.
Lowery was a great raconteur, one of his best being
about Hope’s experiences playing with President
Eisenhower. Said Hope:
“I loved playing with Ike; because of those Secret Service
guys. Some you saw, but some you did not. Find your ball
behind a tree? No sweat; the ‘tree’ would quietly sidle away….”
But I digress. During World War II, Royal Jersey was the
only Royal Club to be occupied by the Wehrmacht.
Displaying a fine regard for course architecture and the
dangers of coastal erosion, the Germans built a sturdy
concrete sea wall running from Fort Henry to Fort William
and bordering the 1st to the 4th fairways. The Nazis’
ideas of hazards, however, were perhaps a shade extreme.
The course was left littered with tank traps, not sand
traps, while their liberal sowing of landmines must have
added a certain post-war frisson to caddies searching for
an errant drive.
An added delight at the Dinner will be meeting Tommy
Horton MBE, formerly the Club’s professional and twice in
the Ryder Cup. I am ‘bookending’ the Dinner with him. By
this I mean that he will open the speeches with his Toast
to the Club, while I will wind it up, literally, with the Reply
for the Guests. Only four speakers – excellent. None of the
problems then, as at the Glasgow GC Bicentenary. Then,
according to legend, Willie Whitelaw, deputy Prime
Minister, got up to speak at ten minutes past midnight.
Rising to speak, he rose also to the occasion;
“Mr Captain and Gentlemen. When I accepted your most
kind invitation, I had not realised that this was to be a twoday
dinner. Gentlemen, good morning…!”
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine