The Major’s Correspondence

Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (est. 1603)

pulsa inveni repulsa

From:  The Secretary
Royal St Luke’s Clubhouse
Carrington Magna
Suffolk SU3 1GC

  Many and varied are the issues with which one has to deal as Secretary of a great golf Club. The vast majority of golfers have no idea of the sheer range of questions, complaints, suggestions and general idiocies which are brought up by Members and left for the Secretary to sort out. Many have nothing to do with golf and everything to do with the general lack of discipline, initiative & common sense which pervades this country in peacetime. Below are a selection of problems left, literally, at my office door by members too lazy, ignorant to fathom the answers or too frightened to come in….


My Dear Major ;

Following a major prostate operation last year, I have to wear a surgical appliance, namely an “ Alert! ” incontinence pad which incorporates a loud buzzer. When, alas, the pad becomes wet, the buzzer goes off for 60 seconds and can only be silenced by tearing off the pad and squeezing it. I have however trained Briggs, my caddy, to squeeze it into silence in situ but this involves pain and a certain amount of bellowing on my part.

Now, during a matchplay tie with Mr F.G. Hargreaves yesterday, my nervous tension triggered a repeated loss of continence. As a result the buzzer sounded on four separate occasions, each time (unfortunately) when Hargreaves was at the top of his backswing. I could see that this was causing him increasing irritation and when the thing went off again as he was addressing a left-to-right 4 footer on the 18th green, he exploded, accusing me of deliberate tactical buzzing i.e. cheating – and claimed the hole and the match. He refused to be reasonable afterwards in the Clubhouse, even pretending to be shocked when I approached him in Founder’s Room with the incontinence pad and demonstrated, using a noggin of Kummel, how the buzzing was triggered. My question is ; can a surgical appliance such as my this be considered an Outside Agency or is it an Unlawful Appurtenance ? I’m sure the R&A must have a ruling somewhere on this, given the degree of incontinence at the highest level at St Andrews.

Yours etc.,

R.A. Kingsbury.


Dear Kingsbury,

A difficult one. We can find no reference to Incontinence Pads, noisy or otherwise, in the published Decisions of the Rules of Golf Committees of the R&A /USGA. Therefore our Competitions Committee has ruled as follows ; your matchplay tie with F.G Gardiner shall be replayed ; in order to restore equity between you it is ordered that Gardiner, too, will wear an “ Alert ! ” incontinence pad which he will be permitted to trigger, without warning, an equal number of times to yourself. This will be achieved using a concealed waterbottle affixed to the inside of his trousers. In future, the Committee requests that you change to the Vibrapee appliance or, even better, to the Larkrise which emits a musical twittering identical to the song of the skylarks, which are such a joy on the links in summer. This is a sound at which no opponent could take offence, even if its source, arising from your nether regions, does appear to be somewhat singular…


Dear Major;

I see that the Club is to hold a “Burns Supper” in the Clubhouse on the 25th January chaired by Brigadier Hamish MacKenzie-Stuart . This would seem to be yet another example of cultural aggression by our Scottish members and I would like to know just what this long dead poet has to with golf. Where did he play ? Did he contribute anything to the game and why should we be subjected to an evening of screeching bagpipes, steaming haggises and endless recitations of incomprehensible “poetry” in praise of highland bogs, sheep and rodents. I suspect that this is retaliation for the recent discovery of the now famous window in Gloucester cathedral depicting golf in 1380 and the awful realisation by the shattered Jocks – that golf is actually an English game.

Yours etc.,

Henry Robinson

Dear Robinson ;

I have contacted the Brigadier to establish the relevance of Robert Burns to golf. Incidentally, I agree with you that we are essentially an English club although our founder, King James VI and I, was an emigrant from Edinburgh – and was en route to London in 1603 when he laid out our inaugural 12 holes.
Burns, the national poet of Scotland, was born in Ayrshire in 1759 and played most of his golf at Prestwick and Troon. He was later elected “poet laureate” of the R&A and won their Autumn Medal at St Andrews in 1792. Golfing references pepper his poems and songs. For example Tae a Featherie is a hymn of praise to the golfball he has been using for over a year, while the original of his great international song of parting is actually Auld Lang Syme, referring to his tall foursomes partner Andrew Syme. I actually rather enjoy his rollicking narrative poem Tam O. Shanter which describes a drunken golfer, Thomas Shanter, riding home in a thunderstorm from the AGM at Prestwick Golf Club and literally stumbling into a witches’ Sabbath midnight dance in a ruined church at Alloway. Attendance at the Burns Supper is not compulsory and the prospect of the massed pipe band of the Scots Brigade beating retreat on the clubhouse lawn is one which, as a soldier, I shall savour. Do come if you can and I fact I’ll put you down to propose a toast “ Golf – an English game ! ” and we’ll see if you get home alive – or even get to the end of the first sentence….

As ever,

RJM Warren-Dawlish. Secretary