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, Royal St Luke’s Clubhouse
23rd September 2009
The publication of this Club’s QFA (Questions
Frequently Asked) in the last issue was
followed by a veritable blizzard of
telegrams, faxes, emails, letters and other communications
from the curious to the downright
nosey. I had no idea that the activities of St
Luke’s,while admittedly on the eccentric side,
would be of such interest to golfers elsewhere.
Thus, at the Editor’s request, I have continued
the exercise and there follows St Luke’s
QFA (FAQ ), Cont’d.
Is it true that the corporal punishment of
caddies still continues at St Luke’s?
Certainly. Caddies have to learn. Clearly, the handing
of what proves to be the wrong club to a Member
by his caddy cannot be ignored. However,
public floggings ended many years ago and a
much gentler regime now prevails. Caddies may
only be sharply rapped across the shins today –
and by the Member alone, not by both him and his
partner as previously. Furthermore, the rap must
be delivered with the club which the caddy recommended
– thus accelerating the learning process.
Is it true about St Luke’s blackballing a famous
actor because it had been in the papers
about him being caught by the Las Vegas Vice
Squad in a mixed foursome with three hookers
in a casino parking lot?
Certainly not. That was categorically not the reason.
That could happen to anybody! He was black balled,
correctly, because he was off 24 – and, by
the way, they were in a convertible with the hood
Well, is it true about you chasing a tramp all
the way to St.Albans after he’d been discovered
asleep in a grass bunker? There are all
sorts of rumours about him being a well educated
It is indeed true. And thank you for the opportunity
to set the record straight. He had no need to go to
the police about it. As I told the Judge, at dawn one
morning I found him snoring in a hollow beside the
10th green. I gave him a
prod with my shooting
stick and told him to
clear off. In a surprisingly
cultured voice, he demanded to know where
he was – and I told him.
He then demanded to
know who I was – and
again I told him. I also
told him he was trespassing on private property
and to get up and shove
off – this time using an
expression which might
be politely rendered as
“go forth and multiply”.
To this he replied, “Well,
Mr Secretary, I have to
say this is no way to attract new Members…”
and the chase was on.
Does St Luke’s have
full Lady Members?
The St Luke’s Ladies
Golf Club – an excellent
9-holer for ladies
only – is a mile down
the coast from us.
That wasn’t the Question.
Does Royal St.
Luke’s have ladies ?Not exactly.
And why not – exactly?
Because exactly no Ladies have ever applied to
become a Member. Were one to do so, Council
would take immediate action. A sub-committee
would be formed to report to the Constitutional
Committee on the feasibility of forming a Study
Group to examine the practicalities of convening a
Working Party to advise the Board on what
amendments to the Constitution would be required
to permit a female to join. I should emphasise
that at present a woman would not be
disbarred from Membership because she was a
woman – it would be because she was manifestly
not a man…
But what do the Members themselves think
They think about it, correction them, all the time!
But on Membership of St Luke’s, opinions are divided.
Only last week in Founders Lounge, I heard
that splendid iconoclast Sir Jasper Dashwood opining
loudly on the subject. He for one, he boomed,
would welcome the arrival of young ladies among
us – as she woul make a change from the large
number of old women who are here already…
It’s said that in 1685 Sir Isaac Newton visited
St Luke’s just before the publication of
his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica,
which contained his Laws of Motion
and Law of Universal Gravitation. Is it true
that his golf helped him formulate these seismic
advances in physics?
Yes. While here, Newton also formulated two little
known but brilliant Laws of Motion which he
found to apply to golf balls. They were (a) “Hazardes
attracte; fairways repelle” and (b) “The gravitational
pulle of a bunker upon a balle restyng
upon the fair-way, is directly proportionate to the
proximity of balle to bunker”.
It’s also said that he developed a formula at
St Luke’s which can still be used today to
calculate the speed of a player’s downswing.
Can you reveal the mathematics of this?
Certainly. Sir Isaac’s procedure was to simply multiply
the speed of his backswing by his handicap.
Thus: backswing 20mph, handicap 15, downswing=
This is a final attempt to get at the truth
about the gender issue at Royal St Luke’s.
Honestly now, how many of your total Membership
and Staff are men or women?
All of them.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine