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 THE MAJOR

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
15th July 2009
Royal St Luke’s Clubhouse
CarringtonMagna, Suffolk


I continue to be bombarded with demands for information regarding the history and activities of the Club – despite a clear ex-cathedra proclamation by the Captain in 1902. This enacted that our origins and practicesmight only be conceded to candidates preparing for the final entrance examination.

However, we reckoned without Brussels. Last year the E.U.’s Data Extraction Squad issued its infamous Eurodirective 2353/08, also known as the FAQOrder – requiring that all organisations issue a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Such insolence drew a curtly dismissive response fromthis Club which naturally delighted the Eurosceptic press, a typical headline being ‘FAQ–Off, says Club to Eurocrats’. Such was the furore that I will be appearing before the European Court nextmonth, charged with sedition.Meanwhile, to keep the peace the Captain has authorised publication of the following responses.

QFA

What is a QFA?
It is a FAQ – as one does not begin titles with an adverb.

What year was St Luke’s founded in?
Neither does one answer questions which end with a preposition.

In what year was St. Luke’s founded?
Better. 1603 A.D.

Who founded it?
James Stuart

Which James Stuart – the one who was in ‘Twelve o’clock High’?
No – the one who was in the process of following Queen Elizabeth I. King James VI of Scotland.

Why was he following her?
He was following her to succeed. Succeed in what? Following her, for God’s sake.

But why St. Luke’s – why not St. Anyone Else’s?
Our Founder, King James VI & I with his entourage, was en route fromEdinburgh to his coronation in London. He stopped here at CarringtonMagna and took refreshments in the ancient Chapel overlooking the bay. His Majesty, strongly reminded of his home course atMuirfoeld, ordained that in all time coming our Links be utilised for “Ye Exercyse of ye Golffe.” The Chapel, now deconsecrated as the Halfway Hut, was dedicated to St Luke – hence the name.

So, St Luke’s is even more ancient than the R&A?
Indeed. The Society of St AndrewsGolfers – now the Royal & AncientGolf Club – was founded in 1754 when we had just celebrated our 150th anniversary.However we recognise the R&A as theGame’s administrator and their President, currently Lord Fanshawe ofMount Rasberry, is an ex officioHon.Member here.

Why is The Open Championship no longer held at St Luke’s?
This follows a regrettable incident over 20 years ago when the ball of Ronaldo Gonzalez (Spain) who was leading at the time, was snatched from the 17th green by a Retriever and, well, deformed.

Deformed how – I mean how deformed?
By being chewed – and very deformed.

Really? Whose dog was it?
It was my dog. He was pursued and the ball wrestled free from his jaws by myself and a police officer. Unfortunately I made the mistake of throwing it back on to the green. The dog, assuming that a game other than golf was afoot, tore after it and upended Gonzalez’s caddy before being subdued. There being no relief in the Rules for a ball ridged by dog bites, Gonzales had to putt out with it, taking four more to get down. He was not amused – and neither was the R&A.

Was it destroyed?
The ball? Yes.

No – the Dog.
Certainly not.

What is your position on the self-adjusting golf shoe controversy?
This topic came up at RFQ (Regional Final Qualifying) here when P. Boggs (USA) was found to be wearing such items. The shoe was ostensibly just laceless footwear which can be tightened to fit the player’s foot bymeans of a screw fixed to the heel. However when the shoe was seized and X-rayed, its true functions came to light. The shoe contained amicrochip which continuously sampled, through the sole, the greens’moisture, grass texture and nap – and windspeed, direction and humidity through the uppers. Interestingly, these data were communicated to the player through an ingenious systemof coded squeaks which Boggs’s playing partners initially put down to newness. It was only when the squeaking continued – and indeed rose in intensity – when he addressed putts, that the penny dropped.

What did you do about it?
We arranged for the shoe to bemanufactured by our wholly-owned equipment subsidiary.

But is the shoe legal? Under Rule 8, a player may not…
Quiet! A player may solely receive advice from his partner/caddy but there is absolutely no bar to his receiving it from, or through, his sole.

How did St Luke’s celebrate its Opening in 1603?
There was a torchlight re-enactment of King James’s arrival, with a procession of caddies representing his entourage of Scotsmen on the make.His “Clubbe & ballemaker” was knighted on the home green and his sons PrincesHenry & Charles took part in a demonstration jousting Tournament. “Prince Charles” was placed fifth and promptly lost his head – a sad premonition of what was to come. The evening concluded with a standard Jacobean Banquet, complete with yard-of-ale tipping, mince throwing, jesters, tumblers, harlots,minstrels, and ending with a demonstration of heavy smoking by SirWalter Raleigh, just in fromVirginia. All in all, remarkably similar to a present day St. Luke’s Anniversary Dinner.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 

 
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