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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.

Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (Est. 1603)
pulsa inveni repulsa

From; The Rt. Hon. the Lord Fanshawe,

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club,
St Andrew’s
Fife KY3 7QL

Dear Major Warren-Dawlish,

I would be obliged if you could furnish me with an explanation of the extraordinary events surrounding Regional Final Qualifying (RFQ) at Royal St Luke’s for The Open at Turnberry. We are besieged here by the “popular” (i.e. gutter) press who seem particularly energised by the issue of your talking balls – or rather your Talking Balls™. The Rules Czar is absolutely furious about these, which he thinks probably violate Rule 8. Moreover, the High Treasurer wants a justification for some of the RFQ expenses claimed by St Luke’s. In particular he seeks clarification of your claim for funding (a) a tattooist and her “mobile tattoo parlour” and (b) ingredients for 50 BertieWoosters. Beside these, he says, those of our MPs assume a modicum of respectability.

By Friday, please.

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

P.S. Check your email inbox – now..

By email: In Strictest Confidence
From: Pres@RandA.com
To: Sec@RoyStLukesGC.org
Subject: Balls


What on earth is going on?We sanctioned the mandatory use of the new distancelimited (DL™) ball for the RFQ at Royal St Luke’s when you refused to lengthen the course to 8,000 yards – which was reasonable.We did everything to help you; we let you pioneer the DL™ ball; we gave you a monopoly on sales; you could keep the proceeds; and you reward us by landing all of us in a right consommé – and possibly in court.

You had no right to have your workshop offer players the painting, or stencilling, or otherwise sticking of personal statements on their balls. Roly, this constitutes advice! You know perfectly well what the Rules say about this. “Advice’’ is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke. A player (Rule 8-1) may not seek advice from anyone “other than his partner or either of their caddies”. He may not, repeat not, receive advice from his balls.

Surely you could have foreseen the problems. In the playoff between Dodd and Stockbridge, I hear that Dodd had “Wait for it!” painted on his balls while Stockbridge’s were pristine. Furthermore, an unknown person, probably a caddie acting for a bookie, allegedly switched a clean Stockbridge ball for one which said “Shank coming!” Not surprisingly, he lost the tie with a socket into your carpark and is now closeted with his solicitors.

Every time we use St Luke’s for Final Qualifying something like this happens. We’re fed up with it. Last time it was that hot-air balloon you shot down and there are members of the Championship Committee who haven’t forgotten what your dog did to Gonzalez’s ball when he was leading...


By email: In Strictest Confidence
To: Pres@RandA.com
From: Sec@RoyStLukesGC.org
Subject: Balls


This is ridiculous. How on earth can a message on a golf ball be construed as ‘Advice’? The Rules say specifically that a player may not seek advice from anyone i.e. any person – but there’s absolutely no restriction on obtaining advice from any inanimate object such as a ball. Players get advice on distances from sprinkler heads, don’t they, and on wind direction from that huge barrage-balloon thing that the BBC uses to spy on us?

I’m grateful of course that you and the USGA have sanctioned the DL™ ball – but why should it be limited to distance limiting? Why not make the ball an integral part of the players swing as well as the shot? Show some vision, man! The addition of a message to the DL™ has turned them into what the press call talking balls – now patented as the DLTB™ – the greatest advance in golf ball design since the Haskell. The Message, by the way, is limited to three words, which are all that can be remembered and acted on during a swing.

There’s no point in having a sentence from Golf MyWay. The words are not painted or stencilled on to the surface, they’re stippled into the cover of the ball as a tattoo. That’s why, to save time, I had Frenchie’s Mobile Tattoo Parlour brought here from Brixton to cope with the demand.

Some of the messages the players wanted were quite bizarre, such as, “Wait!” “Weight across!”, “Yes”, “NO!”, “Lie still” and even “Mother-in-Law”. Equally strange were some requested by our own members. Your noble friend Lord Craythorpe had his heraldic escutcheon, armorial crest and motto in Latin – which led to that unfortunate headline in The Times, ‘Peer has family Coat of Arms tattooed on balls’.

Fanny, the greatest problem in golf is the mental blackout that most of us experience when we start the backswing. The balls hammer home a message through backswing and downswing till the club hammers home. And provided the tattooist gets the text from the player (or his caddy) then surely even the Grand Cucumber of the Rules Committee would agree that the spirit of the Game is being observed?

Finally, a Bertie Wooster, as you should know, is the restorative administered by Jeeves to Bertie, when the latter was groaning under a seismic hangover after a night at the Drones Club. It’s half a pint of vegetable juice to which is added black pepper, a raw egg and a belt of Oloroso sherry. Drink it – and the sun immediately rises, birds alight on the window sill and sing in three-part harmony.

You should try it….. we did.

Roland Warren-Dawlish.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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