Martin Dempster: Mair and Wood deserve club honour

Ian Wood, pictured in his Scotsman heyday, has  been made an honorary member. Picture: TSPL
Ian Wood, pictured in his Scotsman heyday, has been made an honorary member. Picture: TSPL
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Well done to Duddingston Golf Club for recognising long service – three life memberships have just been handed out – and also honouring “special” contributions to golf by two of its llustrious members.

In these difficult times for clubs, I keep hearing that life members are being asked to start coughing up annual subscriptions again despite having paid a lump sum in the past. Sure, it represented outstanding value for money to the individual concerned, but it is cheeky, surely, that clubs appear to be starting to renage on the terms of that deal.

The exception, I suppose, would be at somewhere like Eyemouth, my old stomping ground, where the club has changed beyond recognition over the past decade or so, the 18-hole course and clubhouse there now bearing little resemblence to the old nine-holer and its inferior facilities.

Even then, a life member there could argue that the club hasn’t changed name so the terms should remain, but, turning to Duddingston, how pleasing to see it’s still marking long service – Alex Milligan, Ian Hoseason and Mike Power have all completed 50-year tenures – as well as honouring two illustrious members rather than alienating them.

I’ll admit a vested interest here as Norman Mair and Ian Wood are not only two former golf correspondents of The Scotsman but also individuals I’ve looked up to, one for his technical understanding of the sport – rugby, too – and the other for having the ability to write with the same wit as he expresses in the flesh.

Few golf clubs can boast such journalistic talent and, therefore, Duddingston should be applauded for awarding the pair honorary membership, an accolade conferred in recent times on only three others, including the legendary Ronnie Shade.

“It is not just about club champions or captains, esteemed though past recipients are,” said Bill Flockhart, the club’s centenary year captain, who proposed the nominations. “On this occasion club members have been able to recognise people who, through their profession, have done something special for the game of golf.” Very special.