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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 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 open. Scandalous.

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 ex-stock broker.
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 about women?
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= 300mph.

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


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