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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,
7th Feb 2009
Royal St Luke’s Clubhouse
Carrington Magna
Suffolk SU3 1GC

To All Officers and Gentlemen of St Lukes,

In the deepening financial predicament, in which the Club finds itself, the Captain issued the following Encyclical Letter in which, invoking Article XVII of our 1603 Constitution (as amended) for the first time since the crisis of the Great Caddy Revolt of 1848, he spoke ex cathedra, that is, infallibly.

I have appended his words together with some of the printable responses which have flooded in by hand, road, air and in one case by pigeon.


Some of you have drawn my attention to articles in the newspapers – and bulletins on the wireless – suggesting that a great financial turndown, as with bed linen, and a severe credit crunching (extraordinary phrase) is presently going on. I was quite unaware of this, living as Lady Dorothy & I do, alone with the servants in a remote country house, and mistrustful of anything powered by electricity.

However the Secretary, Major Warren- Dawlish, who is abreast of these things, has told me to write to you to tell you to write to me about the need for me, and indeed him, to be put right regarding the need to do the needful what is apparently proving to be a downright downturn.

I do hope this makes things clear – and that you will send your suggestions to me on a postcard, please, or to the Secretary by telegram, or still better by inscribing them in the Suggestion Book in Founders Lounge which, whatever the weather, will continue to be inspected monthly.

My grandfather faced many crises in India as did my grandfather in the Crimea – and I’m sure that given the Club’s four hundred year history, we will prise open the jaws of the crunch and swallow the medicine, however bitter, that is prescribed by the Council.

I personally believe that this crisis, whatever its cause, will be found to come from Europe – and probably from the French. We’ve levelled their butter mountain, we’ve swallowed the wine lake, we’ve even put up with our British banger being renamed the eurosausage. But enough is enough and when the turnup comes, I say that we should have done with the lot of them, Johnny Foreigners, an absolute shower – and show that, at least in this Golf Club a gentleman is still a man who uses a butter knife – when dining alone. God save the Queen.

Trusting this finds you as it leaves me, I remain, with high consideration,

Yours sincerely,

AHRF Barrington-Dalby (Captain)

Dear Captain,

For a start you could increase the Membership by 50% It’s ridiculous in the 21st Century to have prospective Members vetted by two committees, their CVs pored over by the Hanging Judge and their DNA profiled by the National Security Computer. Surely it’s enough that a chap went to a good Public School, then to Oxbridge and served in the Cavalry – or the Guards.

Who do we think we are?

Col. RJD Mordred.

Mr Secretary,

Could I suggest that the Kummel be served at room temperature? The saving in refrigeration costs would benefit not only our utilities bill but also the national exchequer – and indeed the planet, given that we apparently consume one third of the entire production of this essential commodity.

Indeed as it’s presently brought from Latvia could we not begin to make it ourselves?

With regard to the problem of the inaccuracies in the anemometer on the roof which has been the subject of such heated debate in the clubhouse, I suggest that this device be switched off. Furthermore, the barometer which was installed in George II’s time is also hopelessly inaccurate – as is the thermometer which has read 56 degrees Fahrenheit since 1936. If one has to be advised of the weather prospects one has only to say to old Cummings in the caddyshed, “I say, what’s it going to do today, Cummings?” to get a two word accurate answer…

JC Robertson Jr.

Mr Captain,

Can I cut through all this guff – yes guff – and it’s time for some plain speaking.We must abandon greenkeeping.

This would save £1.3 million in a calendar year and would restore the course to the pristine links which James VI&I found here in 1603 when he inaugurated the place.We would still cut the greens and the tees, by hand, but that is it ! No watering from below, only by the Almighty from above, no pesticides to kill the larks, no fertiliser to turn the rough into an impenetrable hyperthatch – and above all no touching the bunkers. A hazard is a hazard and all this namby-pambying has to stop, So, away with rakes, away with ball fishers beside the river, away with yardage markers, course guides and laser rangefinders which anyway are just crutches for the brain – and back to Nature. Back to the time when this country was Top Nation, when the sun never set upon the pink swathes of Mercator’s Projection – back to the time when men were men – and women were also men, back….

That’s enough – Secretary

(To be continued…..)

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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