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