On the Fairways with Bill Tait

Tommy Bolt, the 1958 US Open champion was also known for his temper.
Tommy Bolt, the 1958 US Open champion was also known for his temper.
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We are now into October which means that the popular Invitation Sweepstake is under way. In the first round Michael White won the day and a bottle of whisky with a score of (14)59. The other qualifiers for the final round in two weeks time were: J. Fyfe Jnr. (7)62, G. Campbell (6)63, J. Galloway (9)63, ,Stevie Johnston (5)63, S. Hunter (8)64, R. McLeish Jnr. (8)64, J. Brown (6)64, A. Copland (11)65, Willie Robb (14)65, Lee McAllan (11)65, Martin Lothian (9)65, Kenny MacAskill (+1)65, Dan Lavery (18)66, Gregor Wilson (7)66, J. Wilson (7)66, William Roberts (11)66, Geoff Clark (14)66, David Semple (9)66, S. Dunn (6)67, K. Doyle (9)67, Billy Hewitson (18)67, J. Lafferty (10)67, J. Cameron (10)67, D. Taylor (5)68, Richard McEvoy (15)68, Albert Bush (10)68 Tam Stewart (18)68, Garry Milligan (18)68 and John Pringle (16)69. The weather was kind and we only hope it stays that way for next week’s qualifier and the final the following week.

The Saturday medal at Turnberry on the 27th. September brought Patrick Morris in with the winning score of (2)71 followed by Gordon Boyle (+1)72, Alexander Jack (6)74 and Ken Miller (6)76.

Meanwhile the final of the Turnberry Staff Match-play singles came to a long drawn out conclusion with Peter Doig beating Richard Murnin on the 20th hole. The players had six rounds to get through to achieve a winner and Richard Murnin even had the illustrious caddy-master as one of his opponents in his path to the final. Congratulations to Peter Doing for becoming the Champion and commiserations to Richard Murnin, who must remember that there is always next year.


Peter Dobereiner a famous golf writer and a golf fanatic once wrote ‘Rule one: Whenever a spectator seeks out a really good vantage point and settles down on a shooting stick or canvas chair, the tallest, fattest golf watcher on the course will take up station directly in front.’ Mind you there is an alternative to this in that the tallest, fattest golf watcher knows that wherever he sits he is going to upset someone.


First I must get off my chest my disappointment in Ayr United losing yet again. Peterhead always seem to get the better of Ayr when least expected. Roll on Dunfermline.

Golfers must make the most of the sunshine, as on Saturday we were shown that winter is not far away with frequent hailstorms between spells of warm sunshine. The sun may have been warm but it was freezing under the hailstorm. We cannot grumble as we have had a tremendous summer this year. People will no doubt look back with fondness on the summer of 2014 unless of course it was the precursor of many hot dry summers in the future.

An interesting look back on some golf history takes us to the days of Tommy Bolt who was well known for having an uncontrollable temper. Tommy was born in 1916 and won the US Open in 1958. He was credited with a wonderful swing but was known as ‘Terrible Tommy’, ‘Thunderbolt Tommy’ and ‘The Vesuvius of Golf’ because his temper often got the better of him.. Ben Hogan commented ‘If I could have screwed another head on Tommy’s shoulders, he could have been the best player that ever played’. Bolt was well known for throwing his club when he played a bad shot but recommended to others who did the same that the club should always be thrown forward to save sending your caddy back to retrieve it. However in the 1960 US Open he drove two balls into a pond and in exasperation the driver followed. A small boy then dived into the pond, retrieved the club to great applause, even receiving a smile from Bolt until he ran past him across the fairway and over a fence complete with driver. In the Ryder Dup in 1957 Tommy Bolt faced another fiery character in Scotland’s Eric Brown. They were both late onto the tee for the singles match and Jimmy Demaret quipped that they were most probably still on the practice ground throwing clubs at one another. It was a needle match with Eric Brown winning 4 and 3 much to Tommy Bolt’s chagrin who complained that it was not an enjoyable game to which Eric Brown replied ‘That’s because you don’t like getting stuffed’. All sports need their characters and Tommy Bolt was certainly one of them. But remember always keep your cool on the golf course and let your opponents get all wound up.