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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

To: All Members

I write on the instructions of the Captain and Council to clarify recent wild speculations in the press – and rumours in the clubhouse – regarding the financial position of the club.

Royal St Lukes is not immune from the recent upheavals in the market and it would appear that some of the finance committee’s investments have not prospered as one might have hoped.

These include heavy exposure to the Lebanese sub-prime mortgage market and to the Cayman Islands tertiary banking sector. In addition, the decision of the committee to take a major position in Cuban short-term reverse preference bonds just ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Flossie can be seen, in retrospect, to have been a shade optimistic. As a result of the above reverses and adverse comment in the financial press, the club’s share price has fallen from 458p just one month ago to just 3p this week, reducing our market capitalisation to that of a family-run pizza outlet. Drastic action had to be taken and the club has taken it.

I can now reveal that following intensive and secret negotiations with HM Treasury and our bankers, it has been agreed that the club will be, hopefully temporarily, nationalised. Now I know that the very term ‘nationalisation’ will come as a shock to our more conservative members – but be reassured – in this we are not alone.

After all, across the Atlantic the marvellous Masters Tournament is held each spring at the Augusta National Golf Club, and the most prestigious club in the New York area, on Long Island, holds our brethren of the National Golf Links of America. In golf, ‘National’ is not a dirty word. The club will thus henceforth be known as the Royal & National St Luke’s Golf Club plc. (The Palace have thankfully indicated no objection to the change, pointing out that they, too, are a national operation.)

The government will refinance the current deficit until the share price recovers and the club gets off its financial backside to sit, once again, on a secure independent bottom. I know how much all of us will look forward to that day.

However, all this comes at a price. While the Captain will remain in post, the (Hon.) President of the Club – with full voting rights in Council – will now be the Prime Minister. As our constitution requires that the President – whether Hon. or non-Hon – must be a member of the club, I need a proposer and the required 12 seconders to indicate their support without delay. Finally, if any members knows of the whereabouts of the present President – last heard of in the Turks & Caicos archipelago – would they kindly advise me.

I now append certain e-mails from members received during the present crisis to clarify the questions which seem to most concern you.

RJM Warren-Dawlish, Secretary

Mr Secretary

What is to become of our ancient caddie corps and our splendid caddies themselves in all this mess? Consider my situation. My own caddie, Struthers, is over 80 now and he is in absolutely no position to be nationalised.

RG Wainfleet

Mr Wainfleet

It had been thought that the caddies were independent contractors and not in the club’s employ. However, examination of the Foundation Charter of the Caddie Corps, dated 1746 and signed by King George II, has revealed that it was, and de jure, still is, a military formation.

The Corpswill thus pass under the control of theMinistry ofDefence and the caddies, including Struthers,will become, temporarily, army personnel.While the younger ones, after basic training,may find themselves in Iraq or Afghanistan, be assured that thiswill not happen to Struthers.

By the way, as I seem to remember that Struthers in fact took part in the DDay landings in 1944, could you ascertain if he still has his paybook?

RJM Warren-Dawlish, Secretary

Mr Secretary

Does this new circumstance mean that we are to have visitors and parties playing all over the course?


Lord Portfield

I’mafraid it does. The government’s inspectors noted that we only allow “parties” to play here and seemto have interpreted the termin a political light.

I have thus already received notification that we will be required to host, on successive weeks, UKIP, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. The latter, one supposes, can at least be trusted to repair their pitchmarks.

RJM Warren-Dawlish, Secretary

Mr Secretary

Lookhere. Idon’t trust thegovernment.Never have.They’re all asset-strippers.Accordingly,have youany assurances thatour club’s treasures are safe fromthedepredationsof these locusts?

ADT Fellowes-Marchmont


There is no such assurance. Already the inspectors are in – valuing the paintings, the trophies, the silverware, even the waitresses. The Chinese Ambassador has even been on to demand return of the Tibetan Gong used in the Council elections! (Don’t worry – he’s not getting it.)

However, there is light, or rather a smell, at the end of the tunnel, and it’s gas. You will recall reporting, as did others last month, an odd odour on the 10th fairway. It was initially thought to be an after-effect of the curried eggs on the lunch menu – but it wasn’t!

We’ve been out with the prospectors and their ground-penetrating radar, and it’s a natural gas field. It’ll mean a large derrick and a wideish GUR for a year or so, but when the news hits the market...

I’ll let you go now to call your broker.


Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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