On the Fairways with Bill Tait

Lee Trevino, who won seven golf Major championships.
Lee Trevino, who won seven golf Major championships.

The wind of late has made it very difficult to hit a golf ball, but also interesting trying to determine where the wind will take it.

By now surely all the new golf toys will have had a chance to prove themselves. But not this weekend as no-one turned up to play in the Girvan Golf Club New Year Trophy and I am sure that little golf was played elsewhere. This of course means that the Girvan Golf Club New Year Cup will now be played on 18th. January with the January medal the following Sunday, naturally all dependant on the weather.

Girvan members are reminded that the Annual General Meeting of the Club will be held on Sunday 25th. January 2015 at 6.30pm. in the 19th.Hole. This is a very important meeting for all those interested in the future of the Club and a good attendance is hoped for.


Lee Trevino, a great talker as well as golfer ‘Nobody but you and your caddy cares what you do out there and if your caddy is betting against you, he doesn’t care either’

Arnold Haultain in The Mystery of Golf in 1910 commented ‘Don’t worry about your caddie. He may be an irritating little wretch, but for eighteen holes he is your caddie.’

The sad death of Willie Aitchison has brought to everyone’s attention the importance to the professional golfer of having a good man not only as a caddie but also a friend. That was mentioned by Lee Trevino on learning of Willie’s passing and no greater compliment could have been paid to Willie Aitchison than that by his great friend Lee Trevino who attributed his two consecutive Opens at Royal Birkdale and Muirfield to having Willie on his bag..


Well we have new manager at Ayr United but still lost against Brechin 2-1. We have to give new man Ian McCall a chance to find his feet and hopefully he does so very quickly and we start moving out of the danger area.

Whilst contemplating the year ahead we can look back on some famous golfers and what they achieved. John Ball was born in December 1861 and died in December 1940,. seemingly a very precise man, the son of the owner of the Royal Hotel at Hoylake which provided the headquarters of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club founded in 1869. Naturally with all that at his disposal John Ball became a talented golfer and at the age of 16 came fourth in the Open at Prestwick in1878 receiving the sum of ten shillings as a prize. This was to cause a problem when his club decided to put on a national championship for amateurs. At that time the ruling stated that an amateur was someone who did not accept prize money from a competition, but his club desperately wanted their champion to take part and after some deliberation it was decided to place a statute of limitation on the acceptance of prize money and Ball was cleared to enter.

It is interesting to note that whilst the Open was played under a stroke play format, the amateur was a knockout under a match play format. Match play suited John Ball and he went on to win eight amateur titles between 1888 and 1912. It was a remarkable feat as he served in the Cheshire Yeomanry during the Boer War and also was serving in the First World War both of which precluded him from playing golf.. In 1890 he became the first amateur and first Englishman to win the Open and this was at Prestwick where the course had been extended to 18 holes. He also won the Amateur Championship in that year and only Bobby Jones has equalled Ball’s feat of winning the Open and Amateur titles in the same year. The only other amateur to win the Open was Harold Hilton in 1892 a fellow Hoylake member. Hilton a younger member of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club and was coached by Ball whom he considered to be the first player to impress on golfers the possibilities of iron play which he used to play the ball straight at the pin unlike many other golfers who were just content to place their balls somewhere on the green.

So you see there is much to learn from these golfers of yesteryear who had to master the game with balls and implements which were much inferior to that which we use today. Would you like to play in a buttoned up tweed jacket, starched collar and tie?