Hedley Muscroft (1938 – 2023)

Hedley Muscroft (1938 – 2023)


Hedley Muscroft, an Honorary PGA Member who played in the Open Championship on 16 occasions and was as colourful off the course as he was successful on it, has passed away at the age of 84 in Marbella after a short illness.

Hedley, who was attached to Aloha Golf Club in the Spanish resort at the time of his passing, flew the PGA flag on mainland Europe for the best part of 40 years, starting with a spell at Club de Golf, Geneva, Switzerland, in 1989.

Prior to that he served two clubs in his native Yorkshire. Having been elected to PGA Membership in 1956, he spent 14 years at Moor Allerton during which time he won the Leeds Cup, the PGA’s oldest trophy that is still played for. And he did so the hard way, prevailing in a five-hole play-off with Malcolm Hill at Heysham Golf Club.

Coincidentally, Hedley’s most prestigious tournament victory, the 1970 Classic International, was achieved via another epic play-off – a four-hole duel with Christy O’Connor Senior. He won the Leeds Cup again in the same year, defeating future PGA Captain Bryon Hutchinson by a shot at Leeds Golf Club.

Shortly afterwards, however, he made what was a surprising move from Moor Allerton to nearby Roundhay Park Golf Club, a nine-hole facility in Leeds.

“In football terminology, this was going from the Premier League to League Two or below,” recalled Eddie Bullock, another future PGA Captain who began his career as an assistant to Hedley at Roundhay.

“But it wasn't long before what had been an insignificant club morphed into a driving force among the golfing fraternity.

“It became a vibrant hub, renowned for the standard of golf, quality of course presentation and service. Furthermore, it was a fun and memorable golf destination to be associated with or visit.

“Much of that was due to Hedley. He built up the retail business and was a superb networker who formed close friendships with fellow golfers and others from the sporting world.”

One connection was the two-time world snooker champion Alex Higgins who, then at the peak of his powers, played with Hedley in a snooker tournament at the club.

And three-time Open Championship winner Sir Henry Cotton played in a private company event Hedley organised in 1976.

“Hedley invited Sir Henry but was not sure how he would react,” said Bullock. “But Sir Henry was overjoyed as it was the first invite to play he had received in 10 years.”

In addition to Sir Henry, Hedley earned the respect of another Open Championship winner, Gary Player.

Bullock added: “The pair were talking during the Open Championship at Lytham St Annes in 1974 and Player said: ‘What you my friend have done for and contributed to the game of golf, makes you a saviour, a first-class pro’s pro.’”

Player won the tournament that year while Hedley missed the cut. By contrast his best performance had come seven years previously at Royal Liverpool when he finished 18th.

Hedley, nicknamed ‘Deadly Hedley’ by his peers due to his superlative short game, went on to play on the European Tour when it was founded in 1974, a year after enjoying his best season. However, that ended in disappointment when his challenge to win the Benson & Hedges Festival of Golf fell away in the final 27 holes and arguably cost him a place in the 1973 Great Britain and Ireland Ryder Cup team.

The top eight in the points table qualified automatically and the remaining four players to complete the team were chosen by the selection committee. On this occasion, the committee opted for the next four players in the table and Hedley, who finished 13th due to his lapse in the B&H, missed out.

“It was a real disappointment to him at the time, but he moved on,” said Bullock.

Given Hedley’s legendary joie de vivre, that came as no surprise. His love of life included a penchant for speaking in Cockney rhyming slang, especially when negotiating the stakes for wagers.

‘Monkey’ and ‘Pony’ were frequently the terms used when, often in cahoots with close friend and fellow Tour pro Lionel Platts, he struck (and invariably won) outrageous bets with unsuspecting and unwary golfers.

Hedley was also in demand as an after dinner speaker, an accomplished raconteur and as, his new friends in Marbella discovered, an accomplished singer.

He had moved to Spain in 1991 and competed on the European Senior Tour from its start in the following year until 2000. Thereafter he concentrated on coaching and, on occasions, entertained patrons of the Piano Bar in Porto Banus with a variety of musical styles.

“His renditions of songs by Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and even Peggy Lee, were second to none,” Bullock added.

“As for his calling as a golfer, Hedley was a trailblazer for professional golf who influenced some of the changes that ensured the lowly standing of golf professionals were elevated and now enjoy a much higher status.

“It was a privilege to have worked for and learned from him. I owe him a lot.”

Closer to home, Hedley fathered a daughter, Debbie and two sons, Duncan and Richard, both of whom have followed in his footsteps as PGA Professionals and are working abroad in Italy and Germany respectively.

Duncan, the eldest, played on the European Tour for two years before representing England in the PGAs of Europe 2006 Teams Championship and the Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team in 2007.

Richard won the Berkshire Trophy in 1986 and later that year represented Great Britain and Ireland in the EGA Trophy and England in the home internationals. He turned pro in 1989 and played on the Challenge Tour in 1999.

In addition to his daughter and two sons, Hedley is survived by Pam, his second wife. The PGA extends heartfelt condolences to them and Hedley’s other family members and legion of friends on their loss.



Our Partners

  • Air IT
  • Banyan Tree
  • The Belfry
  • Coca-Cola
  • EVC
  • FootJoy
  • Gleneagles
  • PING
  • St. James's Place
  • Therabody
  • Titleist