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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

From: The Secretary
30th April, 2008
Royal St Luke’s Clubhouse
Carrington Magna , Suffolk SU3 1GC

To: The Rt. Hon. the Lord Fanshawe
KCB, PC, etc.etc.
President, The Royal & Ancient Golf
Club,St Andrews
Fifeshire KY 3 7QL

Dear Fanny,

I write at the behest of captain and council to advise you that Royal St Luke’s wishes to retake its place on the Open Championship rota with immediate effect. It is now over ten years since our last holding of the Open – or the Old Jug Medal as it’s known here – and I think tempers have cooled sufficiently on both sides for the matter to be revisited.

The unfortunate events of that blazing hot final day will remain with me always, as with our then captain, now in exile somewhere in the Windward Islands. The problems, seen in retrospect, clearly stemmed from the weather. The crowds, maddened by thirst, descended on the tented village bars and the champagne marquee with such fervour that trouble was inevitable. I’ll admit that it was most regrettable that Monty, my retriever, darted on to the 17th green and made off with Gonzalez’s ball as he was lining up, but that is what such dogs naturally do.

Please spare a thought for my embarrassment when he brought it straight over to me and dropped it and stood, panting, for a throw. I had to return it, the cover ridged with dog bites, to Gonzalez who was less than amused at the referee’s ruling that he’d to putt with it, taking four more to get down.

All I can say about the captain’s faux pas at the presentation ceremony was that again it was due to the weather, and a degree of dehydration, that he’d had a few more kummels than was sensible. But do remember that the claret jug was not damaged when he collapsed with it – or rather on it – and Tiger was most gracious in waiting for the paramedics to stretcher him off, before his speech.

St Luke’s is conscious of a lingering degree of disapprobation from the St Andrews following the above episodes, but I would point out that we have been, since then, most supportive of the R&A in many of its laudable initiatives. We have acted as guinea pigs for the dope detection invasions of the R&A drugs squad, we have tested that Euro-directive on the use of helmets and body armour for the caddies, we have cut our carbon footprint from Sasquatch to Bantam-size, and we now pipe our solid waste (from the gents thunder boxes) underground directly to the Artisans Club down the road. In other words, we have paid our dues.

Finally, we have been an Open final qualifying venue for five years now, and despite the flying sauce bottle incident and issues over our distance-limited balls, we have delivered.

Yours ever,

From: The President
St Andrews

To: Secretary, Royal St Luke’s GC
23rd May ’08
Subject: The Open

My Dear Roly,

How very kind of you to write. I was lunching today with some of the Championship and Things in General Committees who were remarking how well your course was looking these days. How brave it was of you to refuse to lengthen it and go instead for your “DL” (for distance-limited?) ball. I hear you’re marketing it all over the place now and that you’ve got the ball-makers in a right consommé over what to do about it. Jolly good!

Now with regard to the Open. I’m afraid there are still some lingering concerns here about reinstating St Luke’s on the rota. We get requests every week from clubs wanting to take it on – including Wigan Golf Club which is, would you believe, a 9-hole course. The sorry events of Royal St Luke’s last Open are still fresh in the mind, I fear.When your captain crumpled at the prize ceremony, taking not only the claret jug but the table cloth and the leading amateur with him, he was being watched by about 250 million people. It was shown, yet again, only last night on that scandalous Have I Got News For You.

The incident with Gonzalez was seen by only 100million, the BBC tell me, but you surely should have returned the ball by hand instead of throwing it back on to the green. Your dog tore after it and brought down Gonzalez’s caddie before being himself brought down by a police officer.We simply cannot have that sort of thing at Opens.

I agree that you’ve done well with the qualifying this year, but the hot-air balloon incident was...well, bad. I know he was off course, or rather over course, but that was no reason for you pepper the balloon – shaped, I understand, like an enormous Ramage’s Brown Sauce container – and literally shoot him down.We’re now faced with the dilemma of either compensating him on the QT or going to court to say that we believed the qualifiers were being threatened by a flying sauce bottle. You can imagine the gutter press reaction. I suggest you defer the Open question until most of the officials who were there last time are dead. It shouldn’t take long. Meanwhile, I hear that old Biffo Turnbull was arrested again in Shepherd’s Bush dressed as a streetwalker. I think he’s now blown any lingering chance of being captain here...

As ever,

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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