Martin Dempster: Scottish golf mourns two of its '˜legends'

Of the many people I've been privileged to have met and subsequently become friends with, through '¨covering this great game over the past 30 years, Peter Lloyd was very close to occupying the top spot on a long list.

Peter Lloyd was one of golf's 'special servants'.
Peter Lloyd was one of golf's 'special servants'.

Which is why, along with so many others who had the pleasure of knowing him, my heart feels heavy at the moment due to the former PGA in Scotland secretary having passed away on Sunday at the age of 76.

“A giant for the PGA in Scotland”. “A legend”. “A great servant to Scottish pro golf”. “PGA through and through and a great man”. Some of the tributes paid to him on social media and all well deserved because he was indeed one of those special servants to the sport.

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Like the many players, including Paul Lawrie, who benefited from coming across Lloyd, pictured, early in their careers, the same applied to fresh-faced golf reporters like myself when I first started covering 
Tartan Tour events for the David Begg Sports Agency.

Whether it was in person or over the phone, Lloyd was always convivial and that, of course, is why he was perfect for the pastoral role he filled for a number of years after ending his stint in charge of the biggest of the PGA’s seven regions.

His staff during that spell included wife Anne, and she did an excellent job with recording scores as part of a well-oiled machine, one that set the standard for the tournament administrators who came along after Lloyd and, in some cases, now work for the R&A.

The loss of Lloyd, pictured, comes soon after a legendary figure in the Scottish amateur game, Barrie Douglas, passed away peacefully aged 69 after taking ill while acting as Scottish Golf’s European Boys’ captain at the European Team Championship at La Manga in Spain.

No-one – and that fact can’t be stressed enough – was more passionate or knowledgeable about the junior game in this country than the immensely likeable Perthshire man, hence why his passing so 
saddened the likes of Wallace Booth, David Law, Bradley Neil, Grant Forrest and many others.

“Legend. The word pretty much everyone that knew Barrie Douglas would use to describe him,” said Booth, a member of Scotland’s historic Eisenhower Trophy-winning team in 2008. “I loved him like he was my own dad. Words can’t express how much he has done for me over the years.”

Golf, like any other sport, can’t just be about the superstars and it was 
people such as Lloyd, Douglas and Graham Ewart, the gregarious former championship secretary and treasurer of the Scottish Golf Union, who always reminded me about that over the years.

Still with us, Ewart served the amateur game equally as well as Lloyd served his beloved PGA and did so in a way that left everyone he came across with that feelgood factor. He still has that knack when he pops up to the Braids to support George Heriot’s in the Dispatch Trophy, and his positivity no doubt rubbed off as they claimed that prize for the first time in 38 years back in May.

At a time when Scottish golf is struggling badly (a theme for another day) it makes you wonder if the lack of characters such as Ewart in and around the game is a contributing factor. Surely not, I hear you say, but it certainly can’t be discounted because something is clearly missing if you compare the current 
success rate at all levels compared to ten or 20 years ago.

The Tartan Tour will certainly feel something is missing following the loss of arguably its most well-kent face and I’m sure Lloyd won’t mind me sharing his menu choice for an annual January get-together with the Scottish media in the Dormy House at Gleneagles. Starter was a sturdy scotch broth, main was a hearty steak and kidney pudding and yes, of course, dessert just had to be a sumptuous sticky toffee pudding. Even for those with a big appetite, it was quite a task getting through all that lot, but we did our best and, needless to say, our host constantly wore that warm smile as he tucked into his favourite dishes.

RIP my good friend.