IT was a poignant moment when Frank Rennie was presented with the John Panton Award at the annual Scottish PGA lunch in Glasgow yesterday for his services to the game, writes Martin Dempster.
For Rennie, the former PGA professional at Prestwick, revealed that the legendary Panton had not only been the man responsible for him pursuing his chosen career but also gave him his first golf lesson more than half a century ago.
“It’s quite an achievement to receive this award and it was John Panton who was my inspiration to become a professional,” said 75-year-old Rennie. “He also gave me my first golf lessons at Glenbervie. It was quite emotional receiving this honour because we were good friends. It was also nice that many of my members from Prestwick were here as well.”
Rennie grew up in Alva and began his career at Gleneagles in 1958 before moving to Prestwick in 1962, becoming only the fifth professional there since Old Tom Morris.He stayed for 42 years, winning the Northern Open in 1971 and playing in a couple of Open Championships, including at Muirfield in 1966 when he played the last two rounds with Panton.
Also receiving recognition at the lunch, which raises money for the PGA Benevolent Fund, was former Walker Cup player David Patrick.
He received the Stewart Thom Award for being the leading Scottish third-year professional on the PGA Foundation Degree.
Guest speaker at the lunch was Colin Montgomerie, who was presented with a £10,000 cheque in support of The Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation.
“I have an allegiance to Scotland,” said Montgomerie of his attendance at the event. “I am very proud to be a Scot and we are very proud as a nation, as we should be. The rest of the world still treats Scotland as special. Wherever you travel in the world, the words St Andrews are mentioned an awful lot and they do understand we are the home of golf and we should be proud of the fact.
“We should be shouting it from the rooftops more than just accepting it from abroad.”