England (Midlands) Region
04 Dec 18
Two of The PGA in Northamptonshire’s founding members, Stuart Murray and John Freeman, were among those who took a trip down memory lane when the association celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month.
Freeman joined Kingsthorpe as its professional in 1964 while Murray was Scottish amateur champion in 1962 and played in the Walker Cup the following year before he was appointed the pro at Northants County.
That was the venue for the inaugural pro-am, which was staged in 1968, and, appropriately, the lunch held to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
The PGA’s executive director - member services, Tristan Crew, was among the guests as was Mike Gallagher (above) who was also celebrating 50 years as a PGA Professional.
Gallagher, who is attached to Farthingstone, has always worked in the county, serving on the Northamptonshire PGA committee since the mid-seventies.
He won the Midland PGA Strokeplay title in 1974 and the Midland PGA Championship two years later. He also represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 1977 PGA Cup match and played in the Open Championship on two occasions. He was presented with a gift from the association to mark his 50th anniversary as a pro.
The lunch also brought back memories of the association’s early days, not least the first pro-am which saw a pro partnering two amateurs at an entry cost of 27 shillings and sixpence (£28 is today’s equivalent). The first prize was £5 (£104).
Off the course a pro could earn 12 shillings and sixpence (£13) for a half hour lesson and 10 shillings and sixpence (£11) for fitting an Avon Pride grip.
Early in the association’s history Alf Lovelady and Freeman were invited to Carlsberg to discuss sponsorship.
However, they were unaware of the Carlsberg ritual of knocking back three schnapps on arrival and liberal samples of the lager on a guided tour of the brewery. Happily they still managed to secure sponsorship.