Golf: Dalmeny club aims to forge further US links

Dalmeny Golf Club secretary Wullie Ruffle, centre, is flanked by two Medinah officials
Dalmeny Golf Club secretary Wullie Ruffle, centre, is flanked by two Medinah officials
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THE most famous one may well sit on the 17th fairway at Augusta but there’s another Eisenhower tree on a golf course in Scotland and its members are planning to use a fallen branch to make a presentation to Tom Watson at next year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

It follows a similar hand-crafted barrel made from weather debris from the tree at Dalmeny Golf Club, near South Queensferry, being given to Medinah officials at last year’s event to mark Eisenhower’s connection with the club.

That barrel now sits proudly in Medinah’s ‘Heritage Collection’ and the link between the two clubs will be strengthened with an official invitation from Lord and Lady Roseberry to American officials attending the 2014 Ryder Cup to visit Dalmeny House.

“We are also hoping that Ian Andrews, a cooper and one of our members, can make another barrel from a fallen branch from our Eisenhower tree so that we can present one to Tom Watson,” said club secretary Wullie Ruffle. “Tom is from Kansas and President Eisenhower was brought up in Kansas, so there’s a nice connection there.”

General Dwight D Eisenhower at the time planted the tree on Dalmeny’s eighth hole – also the 17th when two circuits are played on the picturesque nine-hole course – during a visit to Edinburgh to receive the freedom of the city in 1946. “It’s the only one other than the 17th at Augusta and is among a number of trees that have been planted on our course by famous people,” added Ruffle, who made the journey over to Medinah last September to present the barrel on behalf of the club.

Michael Scimo, chairman of Medinah’s Heritage Collection, believes five-time Open champion Watson, the American captain for next year’s match in Perthshire, would be delighted to receive such a barrel. “The generous gift presented to us by Dalmeny Golf Club last year will remain one of the truly unique and special Medinah Ryder Cup moments,” he said. “The cask is not only beautiful but significant in that it is a tangible connection between our countries and our members’ mutual love of the game.”

Dalmeny Golf Club was formed in 1934 and membership is restricted to estate workers, tenants on the Roseberry estates or by invitation. In another connection with Augusta National, it also stages a Masters. “The winner, of course, receives a green jacket,” said Ruffle, a welder on the estate for nearly 30 years, “and, for the first time, we are also holding a champions’ dinner this year.”