Feb 1st, 2017
Blackballing by The Kilted Caddie
Our undercover man has his say
Words: The Kilted Caddie
Our undercover Kilted Caddie has somehow managed to get his name on the board at St Andrews, but he’s very aware of the dangers of being blackballed.
The Kilted Caddie writes: “I am now officially a member of The St Andrews Golf Club. I have been accepted on the basis of the support of two written references from existing members and have been lucky enough to have my name put up on the Club’s Main Notice Board without being blackballed!
This is not wholly unremarkable as I must admit to having possibly rubbed up some people the wrong way in my few years here, and it’s just lucky that none are prominent members.
Now blackballing is a feature of many clubs and on one level it’s an important check on club membership. However, I am highly suspicious of this rather random, and unjustifiable exercise of power.
I believe Ronnie Corbett was prevented from joining Muirfield and ‘Fred the Shred’ Goodwin, from the R&A. I am also sure that personal grudges and social cliques have a big part to play.
I know a doctor in Gullane who was a stalwart of that amazing golf club, and he wanted o join the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, where most of his friends were. But, he had a propensity to fall off his bar stool and I believe this lead to his subsequent blackballing.
I’m of the opinion that neither one’s sex nor one’s propensity to topple off a bar stool should be the decisive factor in determining and defining membership of one of the greatest golfing establishments in the world.
I mean the ultimate privilege of access to the legendary Muirfield lunch is not a matter to be treated lightly. This is serious stuff.
The underlying reality is that we live in an incredibly close–knit community here in Scotland. I mean St Andrews in some ways is a satellite of the village that is Edinburgh.
There are massive ties between the two, especially with respect to the R&A and the University. So the notoriety of being blackballed at Muirfield will certainly feed in to the social grapevine and become locker room banter across the Firth.
I remember a rather prim QC, whom my best pal got on to talking about golf and then particularly about the president of the prestigious Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society.
The QC called the guy an ‘absolute prat’ and then asked my friend if he knew the man to which he was given the immediate reply ’Yes, he’s my father’.
I mean that is Churchillian in put down and indeed the stuff that makes for sound ammunition in a good blackballing. They both turned out to be members of Bruntsfield Links.
But we have differing opinions in the same way we have differing golf swings. And traditions are traditions, and I dare say blackballing will carry on and be the stuff of nineteenth hole chatter and interest ad finitum."