Friday 15 December 2017

A long road from Derry to drive in at Royal and Ancient

How a chat at Portmarnock led Gavin Caldwell to be captain at Home of Golf

Gavin Caldwell Drives In as Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club
Gavin Caldwell Drives In as Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

Dermot Gilleece

It began in a highly appropriate setting for a significant golfing journey. On a summer's afternoon in 1989, two kindred spirits were taking a gentle ramble around the shallow duneland of Portmarnock GC, when the subject turned to a distinctly select establishment.

As a complete surprise, Joe Carr indicated to Gavin Caldwell that he would happily propose him for membership of the Royal and Ancient. Two years later, Carr was captain of golf's most august body and in 1995, Caldwell's inclusion as a "house member" was finally confirmed, followed by full membership a year later.

Two decades on, he took further pleasure last week in describing the crucial part played by the man in the middle of what has become the most exclusive trio in Irish golf. "Shortly after that memorable walk, I told Harry McCaw of Royal Co Down what Joe had proposed," recalled Caldwell. "And his response was to offer to be my seconder."

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