06 Nov 18
The PGA regrets to report the death of Tony Martin, a former Member and an original ‘Butten Boy’, at the age of 79.
Tony became a PGA Member in 1957 and had spells at Basildon Golf Club, Essex, and Horsenden Hill Golf Club, Greenford, Middlesex, before moving to Turkey in 1994.
Three years prior to joining Basildon in 1966, a quartet of promising young professionals comprising Tony, Tommy Horton, Jim McAllister and Sandy Wilson was put together by Ernest Butten, an entrepreneur and keen golfer.
His aim was twofold: to produce a British-born Open champion and Great Britain and Ireland regain the Ryder Cup.
Having taken up golf at 60 and reduced his handicap to six within a few years, he believed anything was possible if the right training and practice facilities were provided.
As a result, and with support from The PGA, he developed a residential golf school at Sundridge Park Management Centre and Golf Club in Bromley, Kent. In addition, he brought in Max Faulkner, the 1951 Open champion who became Brian Barnes’s father-in-law, as teaching professional and designed and built a futuristic gymnasium.
Barnes later became a Butten Boy, as did Mike Ingham, Alan Ibberson and Iain Clark, a long-serving PGA Professional who is the father of Cameron, the 2019 Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup captain.
“Tony was one of the originals,” recalled Clark. “He’d moved on by the time Barnesey and I joined and it was a fantastic experience. Ernest Butten was way ahead of his time. We did weight training and kept to special diets – things that are commonplace now but were revolutionary then.
“Seven of us, including Tony, who came over from Turkey for the occasion, got together for a 50th Anniversary Butten Boys Reunion Dinner hosted by the European Tour at Wentworth four years ago. It was great to see everybody again.”
Tony had retired a decade earlier after working at the National Golf Club, Antalya, Istanbul Golf Kulübü, and Gloria Golf Resort, Antalya.
“He did a lot for golf in Turkey,” said David Jones, a close friend who won the PGA Professional Championship three times, worked with Padraig Harrington as Irish National Coach, and is now a successful course designer.
“He was director of golf at the National Golf Club where he launched the Turkish Senior Open in 1996 and then the Turkish Ladies Open.
“He was also one of the founding figures behind the WPGA in an era when women’s pro golf was all but ignored.
“And he ran the first of the big pro-ams before they were really even invented: the ‘Evening Echo’ in Essex.
“Above all, he was a great character, and a genuinely modest man, with friends everywhere."
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