Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (Est. 1603)
The Captain of St Luke’s, a saintly man in his mid-eighties, takes a progressive view of my requirements to attend a few golfing occasions in the Season. The Masters every Spring and the Houndsditch Motors Golf Classic amid the Autumnal splendours of Sunningdale (Old), are the alpha and omega of my annual jaunts.
The 400th anniversary of golf in England was one such excursion this year, hosted by the Royal Blackheath Golf Club. Here it was that our Founder, King James VI of Scotland and I of England, arrived in 1608 with a veritable army of Jocks on the lookout for a bargain – and a game. Readers may recall that it was on his journey south that His Majesty paused, right here on the links of St Luke’s, to lay out, using the spears of his Bodyguard, the teeing grounds and the greens of our inaugural 9 holes.
He also specified the site of the “Haufwey But an’ Ben” (Scotch for Halfway Hut) which is in use to this day, although eccentrically situated by the 4th green. This meant that a subsequent – and genuinely halfway – hut had to be constructed in 1754 at the ninth. To retain symmetry, a final hut was clearly required at the 13th and this was opened just after the quelling of the caddy revolt of 1875. St Luke’s, to my knowledge, is thus unique in having three halfway centres of refreshment and has resulted in not a few Members and especially guests, being more than halfway legless as they eventually weave back to the Clubhouse.
An item of current interest before turning to my correspondence. I have always felt that a golf course was made for walking and preferably for walking with one’s caddy, in my case Williams, to whom I am much indebted for advice both here and at Newmarket and Sandown Park. Caddy cars are of course permitted and we have a buggy – and only one – reserved for members otherwise too frail to make it to the first halfway hut.
Every club, however, has its Private Walker of Dad’s Army fame, he of the pencil moustache and the parabolic fag, the wide boy who will bend any rule going. Ours is Mr Justice Sievewright Q.C., who was caught red-handed by me driving his Mini Cooper down the 16th. He had the nerve to declare that he thought the Mini was the buggy and indeed he and his learned friend Judge Piltdown put up a fair defence, their clubs sticking up through the roof, until I threatened to have it (and them) plugged into the Mains overnight. Indeed, so anti-buggy and buggytrack am I, that I truly believe that Sandy Tatum of the USGA is right. He proposes that any Golf Club insisting on buggies should be denied the use of the very word Golf in its title. Because it’s not golf – it’s Cartball!
Now, on to recent correspondence. For the sake of brevity and space, this month I have omitted the text of the incoming letter – the import of which should be intelligible from the reply.
We’ll have to take action over this new hydrogen-cell powered machine which Frank Hoskins has brought home from the USA. I examined it in the police station this morning after it had been forced off the road by a police chase. The thing is grossly overpowered, as Hoskins found out on the course. He did his best to restrain it using the joystick, but it insisted on chasing poor Willie Porter into the Waveney marsh before tearing off down the Cambridge Road.
Remotely controlled? Nonsense. It is in fact not remotely controllable.
Dear Mr Teasdale,
Thank you for your latest letter. In my view, those crop circles visible across the fence from the 7th fairway are probably hoaxes.
There is no evidence whatsoever that St Luke’s has ever been visited by aliens, whatever you may say about that entry in the Suggestion Book. The statement to the press by Toby Griffiths that he was abducted from the 10th tee and sexually abused for two days in a cigar-shaped craft orbiting Jupiter is to be treated with a fair degree of caution. After all he was playing alone and when we demanded to know where his clubs were, he claimed that they too had been beamed up, abused, and were currently en route to the planet Hesikos….
I give up. This correspondence is closed.