The pioneers of golf, a game which is now played by over 60 million people worldwide, played regular challenge matches between each other across some of the most famous links courses that still exist today. The father and son pairing of Old and Young Tom Morris would regularly play Willie Park and his brother Mungo, with much at stake given the betting of the day. However, more than that was the manner in which they always undertook to play each – by the Rules of Golf and with etiquette.
The game is possibly the only one out of all sports where it matters not if you are playing for a team or on your own… ultimately, it’s you and the course and your self-discipline encourages you to choose not to cheat or take inappropriate actions just to win. For golf is less about winning and more about the fun, the camaraderie, the experience of the game and its surroundings and, yes, the quest for improvement but not at all costs.
The life-skills which the Pioneers of the Past displayed are at the core of what the Trust promotes today: confidence and determination, respect, honesty etc. By embracing these through our programme in Primary Schools and in the Junior sections of Golf Clubs, we add to the children’s knowledge of famous Scots and what they achieved, whilst at the same time helping them map out a path for their lives in society from which they can only benefit by utilising these skills.
The idea of recreating these challenge matches came to our Founder, William Lumsden, who set about pulling the concept together. Covering the same stretches of coast as Morris and Park played, two teams of four players (four professionals, each one representing a course played on the day) and four amateurs will play fast, taking consecutive shots to get around the courses as quickly as possible.
First to tee-off at Prestwick, the birthplace of The Open, at around 04:30 on the 25th July will be Dominic Fairlie, an Honorary Trustee of the Tommy’s Honour Education Trust and great, great grandson of Sir James Ogilvy Fairlie. His legacy to the game was that he was the prime instigator of The Open Championship, and a great friend of Old Tom’s, so much so that Tom named one of his children JOF using the initials of his friend’s name.
Having completed Prestwick the two teams will then travel to Musselburgh Links on the opposite coast of Scotland, courtesy of the donated transport by Muirfield Travel which we gratefully thank them for. Musselburgh Links is known as the Cradle of Golf and is one of the oldest courses in existence. From there they’ll travel to North Berwick’s West Links and the site of the last match played between Old Tom and Willie Park.
To get to St Andrews at this time of day, they’ll then take a small boat from North Berwick to Anstruther across the Firth of Forth, recreating the often-used method by those pioneering golfers rather than the 5 trains that their alternative used to be. Picked up and taken to St Andrews, the teams will complete the Challenge over the New Course, laid out by Old Tom and giving rise to the naming of the original course as ‘Old’. Tom also became a member of the New Club, so in all a fitting finale to the longest of days.
A Big Thank You
We are incredibly grateful to the 2 Clubs, East Lothian Council and the St Andrews Links Trust for the courtesy of their courses and the hospitality and enthusiasm which they have shown us. Follow the path of the players throughout the day on social media (Facebook and Twitter) and you can support them, the children and the charity by donating via our Just Giving page.
Please Help Support Our Charity
By choosing to help support our Programmes in Primary Schools and Junior sections of Golf Clubs you are helping the Tommy’s Honour Education Trust give children a chance to choose their own path, and for that we thank you very much.