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
Members are advised to ignore all reports in the gutter press
relating to the Captain’s arrest in the Cayman Islands. I have
contacted him by phone in the Detention Centre and he asks to
be reminded to you all. He is adamant that the bizarre story of
his (alleged) nocturnal practices put about by local ‘model’ Miss
Elsie Lovelace is a pack of lies. He is never, ever, dressed as
Batman. Furthermore, he denies that the fire in his suite at the
Royal Caribbean Hotel was caused by his passing out and dropping
a lighted Cuban. The bed, apparently, was already on fire
when he got into it.
Work continues on the conservation area by the 14th green.
The Club had no idea that this was the last remaining site in
England for the breeding of the Greater-Spotted Cleveland
Moth. It is just unfortunate that the Greenkeepers’
heavy roller appears to have wiped
out all but one of the creatures.
Despite attempts by English
Natural Heritage officials to capture
the survivor, it took off only
be intercepted by a passing hawk.
While naturally one offers one’s condolences
to any of its relatives, I’m not
sorry to see the back of it. The
most important species inhabiting
our Links is not any flowering
fungus or aerial insect, however
rare. It is H. sapiens vulgaris – the
common or garden Golfer.
The animal life of the Club is quite remarkable. The sheer variety
of creatures calling this place home matches both the range
of the Membership and their eccentric behaviour. The Chief
Steward’s dog, Yala, patrols the place under false pretences,
dogs being banned from the Clubhouse since 1786. However,
we learned from Dr Julius Snell how Oxford had solved a similar
problem with the Dean’s poodle at Balliol College. We thus convened
a Council Meeting and declared it, formally, to be a cat.
This animal is a Shar-pei, 沙皮in Cantonese, and is the traditional
guardian of their ancient temples. What a Chinese temple
guard-dog was doing in the local Dog Pound, where the Chief
Steward found it, is a mystery to me. However it now guards
us, fixing all Visitors with an inscrutable oriental stare.
Much more entertaining is Memo, my own Hill Mynah bird,
named after Mnemosyne the ancient Greek goddess of memory.
Highly intelligent like all mynahs, Memo is actually in the
Guiness Book of Records for her 80 word memory, still increasing
at about 15 words per year. Believe it or not, Memo actually
understands the role of equity in Rules disputes and endorses
the R&A’s approach to the belly-putter issue. She is the only
female attending Council Meetings, enlivening proceedings with
an occasional bowel movement and fixing a beady eye on any
speaker droning on too long. Her suspicion of any such is
greeted with a whistle and a piercing cry of ‘Bollocks!’ or
‘Fore!’ thus reducing the meeting to hysterics.
That reminds me that the absolute star of bird eloquence
was the Captain’s cockatoo of the frigate HMS Ganges in the
age of sail. Orders then were issued to the crew by complex
whistles from the bosun’s pipe. The bird had learned a dozen
or so of these and when the actual Bosun whistled, it would
issue accurate but contradictory instructions – to the red fury
of the Bosun and the delight of the crew. The whistle for,
“Admiral coming aboard!” would be followed by “Abandon
Ship!”; when the Bosun signalled, “Anchor, hoist!” – after a
suitable pause to let it get half-way up – the bird would order,
“Let go!” (Splash).
The Club’s 390th annual Dinner will be held in the Clubhouse
on January 13th. Dress is Black Tie, with
Decorations. The Captain hopes to be with us,
given a successful Appeal to the Cayman
Islands High Court.
The Principal Guest will be Brigadier TDM
Critchley-Smythe, DSO. He will propose the
Toast to the Club, doubtless also recounting
his stirring tales of Afghanistan with the
famous armoured Laundromat of the
Guards Brigade. Members will be able
to purchase signed copies of both volumes
of his latest work, British Army
Laundry Services in the Ashanti
Members often ask why Dinners were
missed in the past; no gaps would make
this year’s occasion our 410th. The reason of course,
is War – and not just of the international sort. We lost Dinners to
both World Wars and to the Napoleonic Campaigns from 1797 to
1815 after which Lt. Carberry of the 31st Foot presented the
Waterloo Drum, still used in selecting our Captains.
We are the only Club on earth to have had our Annual
Dinner cancelled due to Civil Wars: These included the 1745
Jacobite Rebellion when the Clubhouse was besieged by thirstmaddened
Highlanders – and Bonny Prince Charlie. There was
also the English Civil War of 1641-1645 when Members fought
and died on both sides. The conflict carried on at the 1646
Dinner which had to be abandoned amid gunfire and scenes
of utter confusion. Indeed, it’s worth quoting from the then
…Sir Thos. Wakeham then rose & called the Treasurer a
damned Roundhead & a Villein & drew hys Sword and closed
with hym, at which the Captane fyred his Pistole in the air
which severed the corde & caused the Candelabrum to fall
upon Col. Manningham, the Bishop of Derby & others to their
greate fury. The combatte became generall, & erupted out &
onto the 18th Greene & there contynued until the Captane,
commanding the gate Cannon to be dyscharged, brought
How little things have changed.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine