Renton Laidlaw was finest human being I have ever met - Martin Dempster

There are some names that come up on your phone that can make you want to ignore the call, but nothing could have been further from the truth when you saw the person trying to get hold of you was Renton Laidlaw.

Renton Laidlaw, fourth right, with media colleagues at his home at Drumoig during an Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

In the 57 years I have been around, I have never come across anyone who had a knack of creating warmth in people through being such a gem of a human being than my dear friend Renton.

Like so many others, I had grown up listening to his dulcet tones as BBC Radio’s golf correspondent and it was a thrill and honour to be in his company after becoming a golf writer myself.

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We shared a love for the Edinburgh Evening News, having both valued our time covering the game in Scotland’s capital city and, in particular, the Dispatch Trophy up at The Braids.

Renton may have gone on to become one of the most-recognisable faces and one of the most-respected names in golf around the world, but he never forgot his roots.

Indeed, he loved nothing more than returning to his home city, where one of his favourite eateries was Cafe St Honore in North West Thistle Street Lane.

He also loved dining in the R&A Clubhouse in St Andrews and it was always a real pleasure to be invited by Renton for lunch and actually feel as though you were there with someone who had the ability to seem as though he could have been your father, such was the respect you felt for him.

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In return for his generous hospitality, I had always promised him a visit to my own club, Aberdour, but, due to a combination of factors, including the damned Covid-19 pandemic, we never managed that, unfortunately, and now it’s too late.

I will deeply regret that for the rest of my life, but, at the same time, I will treasure lots of great memories, including an informal get-together with other members of the golf media at his home at Drumoig during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship a few years back.

As his sister Jennifer, who is cut from exactly the same cloth, has often mentioned in subsequent conversations, Renton was in his element that day, having received a welcome boost at a time when he was recovering from being poorly.

I know I can speak on behalf of everyone there that day, though, by saying the pleasure was actually ours because any time in the company of Renton Laidlaw was something to cherish.

He was gifted as a writer and a broadcaster, but, more than anything, I will remember him as the finest human being I have ever met.

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