Passing of Finlay Morrison, a True Scottish Gentleman

Finlay Morrison

Right to Left: Finlay Morrison and Alan White, former Chairman of the Scottish PGA

The golf industry, in both Scotland and the rest of the world, recently lost a very fine Scottish gentleman.

Mr. Finlay Morrison served his country with the RAF in the Second World War; he was a stalwart greenskeeper and golf professional at Leuchars, Glamorganshire GC, Elgin, Deeside, Braid Hills and Bruntsfield; he was an accomplished professional golfer who competed in The Open on five occasions and notably finished runner up in the 1956 Welsh Championship; and, in 2009 Finlay was recipient of the inaugural John Panton Lifetime Achievement award to recognize his countless services to the game of golf. To further his list of accomplishments, in the early 1980’s, Finlay also redesigned The Isle of Harris Golf Club, a 9-hole hidden gem links course located in Scarista on the Isle of Harris.

Born in Scalpay, Scotland in 1914, Finlay Morrison reached a personal century (died at age 100) before leaving behind his two children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.

Re-published from Worldwide Golf and Travel September 14, 2015.

This club is famous for: The Stableford scoring system

When he wasn’t happy with his score, this club member invented a whole new points system:
Frank Stableford
Glamorganshire was once the centre of the Industrial Revolution, but all that inventing the modern world pales in comparison to what happened in 1898 at the local golf club when a member decided to invent the scoring system that carries his name today.
“I doubt whether any single man did more to increase the pleasure of the humble club golfer,” said Henry Longhurst.
Dr Frank Barney Gorton Stableford, or ‘Gort’ to his mates, was an excellent golfer, playing off plus one, but he grew frustrated with the bogey system of scoring, whereby the player pitted himself against the bogey (what we now know as the par) for the hole.
In response, Stableford devised the scoring system which carries his name and, as now, the system awarded one point for one over par, two for a par and three for a birdie.
An event was held to try out the system, with Mr W Hastings Watson winning with 42 points and immediately being accused of being a bandit.
Then a little skirmish known as the Boer War happened and Stableford was a called off to serve his country, as surgeon in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and he sort of forgot about the scoring system until thirty years later.
After playing his part in South Africa, Stableford returned to the fairways, first at Royal Porthcawl where he won the Championship in 1907 and then at Wallasey, on the Wirral.
He said: “I was practising on the 2nd fairway at Wallasey one day in the latter part of 1931 when the thought ran through my mind that many players in competitions got very little fun since they tore up their cards after playing only a few holes and I wondered if anything could be done about it.”
The Stableford system was born and suddenly the word “blob” meant your afternoon wasn’t necessarily ruined.
Frank Stableford2
Back at Glamorganshire, the club didn’t rest on its laurels and gained another claim to fame as the spiritual golfing ‘home’ of the famous Barbarians rugby team. This means that some of the best rugby players ever will have enjoyed a booze-fuelled Sunday afternoon on the Glamorganshire fairways.
‘You’d think some kind of Easter egg hunt or chase would be better suited for a team of rugby players…’
The Baa-Baas, in their famous black and white hoops, would visit Wales each Easter as part of a tour and spent every Easter Sunday between 1901 and 1996 at the Glamorganshire, playing a golf tournament and having a raucous sing-a-long with club members.
Sounds like an absolute hoot.
Republished from National Club Golfer, September 16, 2015.

Junior Ryder Cup News – Day 1 Round-Up Courtesy of Morris News Agency

Junior Ryder Cup - Day 1
 Another first at Glamorganshire, as Team USA complete a white wash on Day one with the scoreboard a sea of Red
      0                 4
As the mist rose on a very Autumnal morning, anticipation was high amongst the gathering crowds to see the Captains’ selection of pairings to battle it out on Day One. Team USA all had their customary Red shirts and all flew the Stars and Stripes flags proudly from their golf bags, a typically brash and intimidating approach from the Americans led by Captain Cam who was excited about the prospect of winning away from home and bringing the trophy back to his Florida mansion on American home soil.
Junior Ryder Cup - Day 1 - USA
In a much more subdued manner, the Europeans turned out in their sky blue with each player wearing a Team Europe pin badge with thoughts of “Seve” and all the European greats that had gone before them. Captain Dan sent his team to the practice area whilst he went around each of the American players to welcome them to this years home venue: The Glamorganshire.
Samuel Ryder would have been so proud to see the impact of his aspirations to bring the two continents together in a respectful way through the power of Golf.
Match One: The opening 4 Ball pairings were juggled around as both Captains were seeking to gain an advantage in the opening match, Captain Cam had put out his favoured pairing of Super Savs and JP, although it hadn’t gone un noticed that USA talisman JP was suffering from some late night exuberations back at his hotel room after the opening ceremony, luckily there was plenty of water on hand to re hydrate the young American party animal.
Captain Dan, in a late move, switched his first pairing to the “in form” Charlie Jones who has proved a bit of a nemesis for JP this season on the USPGA Tour this season and Joe “Mighty” Morris who may not be the longest hitter on tour but his accuracy off the tee and short game should prove to be a good balance to take on the favoured American pairing.
Match Two:
First time European team player, Ralph O`Carroll was partnered with seasoned campaigner Matt George to take on Morgan “the Yank” Crimp and the fiercely competitive Jacob Sweeney. Sweeney with his trademark Umbrella in hand, was prowling around the first tee in anticipation of this mouth watering contest against Europe where he was seeking revenge from last years disappointing results. O`Carroll and George were in relaxed mood chatting to fans and taking in the atmosphere of the Ryder Cup. Some great drives off the shortened first tee and it looked like advantage Europe in match 2 on the first hole although The Yank would have something up his sleeve to silence the home crowd!!
Match 3: The Young Guns of World Golf were on the biggest stage of their golfing careers with both Captains making the decision to blood their young Rookies to get a taste of the event and to settle early nerves.
Some controversy with the Osian being switched from team USA to team Europe at the very last minute, apparently Captain Dan had challenged his residency qualification for USA and discovered a great, great Grandmother from llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!! Playing partner and younger of the George brothers was delighted with the late switch and commented to the press ” With a name like “Osian” how could he possibly be anything but Welsh, i’m proud to have him as my new playing partner”
The American pairing were clearly unsettled by this late controversy and Ryder Cup first timer Ben looked very nervous indeed, however his partner Freddie who comes from a long tradition of family golfers was able to calm him down and calm his nerves before he smashed his drive straight down the middle of the first fairway – Game on!
Match 4: With so many of the experienced Ryder Cup players absent from the Day one squad, it came down to a straight “shoot out” between the two Captains who agreed to play the first and skip the 2nd/3rd and 4th agreeing halves in order to lead the way in the competition and to make sure they finished early to get back out on the course to support their players.
Having watched all his young team drive down the fairway, Captain Cam was under a little pressure to follow suit. However, the pressure of Captaincy was clearly getting to the American and he pulled out an iron to play safe on the first tee, he then proceeded hit his ball no more than 20 yards off the tee into the heavy rough. Seizing the opportunity, lefty Captain Dan took out the big gun and drove it down to within a short pitch of the green but the American recovered well and put the pressure on the European Captain who misjudged the speed of the green and 3 putted to get away with a half – this would prove costly!
With all games underway, starter for the day and Rules Official “Scotty” retired to the clubhouse to rest his brain after trying to calculate all the 3/4 handicap differences in each match  – and he`s an accountant!!
All matches were fiercely battled out and after the earlier and much publicised “gimme” or “no gimme” in the Solheim Cup, respect for the tradition of the great game was restored with all players making sure there were “no gimmies” all day!!!  
The Americans were too strong on Day one, Captain Dan will need a rethink on his pairings before Day 2 Foursomes, a format which has always traditionally suited the European players. This could be the greatest defeat of all time or do the Europeans have it in them to begin an early comeback?



The Welsh Team Championships, one of the most prestigious amateur golf competitions, was first played in 1895 soon after the founding of The Welsh Golfing Union of which The Glamorganshire Golf Club was a founding member. The Glamorganshire were runners up on that occasion and this was repeated in 1897. However, with the influx of top flight golfers, including John Duncan (senior member of a dynasty of an outstanding golfing family) and the legendary Henry Howell (the most prodigious Welsh Amateur Champion of all time) the Club set about dominating the Championships for the first four decades of the Twentieth Century. It won the Championships a record 14 times and was runner up 7 times. To date no other club has approached this level of dominance.

From the outbreak of the Second World War this golfing giant appears to have fallen into a deep sleep until the weekend of the 14th to the 16th August. A call to arms was sounded when the Club was given the honour of hosting the Championships during the 125th Anniversary of it’s founding.

32 teams from all corners of The Principality qualified for the final stages. Few gave The Glamorganshire much chance of making it beyond round1, such had been the relative mediocrity of their first team’s success rate this year.

The course was set up magnificently by Mike Williams and his fellow greens staff. It drew rapturous compliments from players and officials. If azaleas had been growing on the course then, such was it’s pristine state, one might have been excused for believing it was Augusta National.

The first day’s play was delayed for 3 hours due to a deluge of rain. Some teams were unable to conclude their games due to failing light and were obliged to return the following morning to finish them. The Royal Porthcawl team was the only one to suffer as a result. One of their number, a consultant radiologist, had booked himself in for appointments and was unable to play. Fortunately their team won their match against Bargoed but weren’t so fortunate in their following match against Radyr. Royal Porthcawl had called up their reserve to play but his car broke down en route. Without his services Radyr quickly put them to the sword. Porthcawl members have a saying: “There is a right way, a wrong way and a Porthcawl way.” In this case the Porthcawl way was found wanting!

The Glamorganshire had been drawn against Clays from Wrexham in the 1st round. The home team secured a comfortable win. Their 2nd round opponents were local rivals, The Vale of Glamorgan. Into the team came one of the Club’s ancient warhorses, Simon Curle, who had been a mainstay of the first team since being a boy wonder in the 1970’s. As he soon discovered, time stands still for no golfer. A number of low raking hooks persuaded Simon to rest himself for the next round.

It was another old stager of the team, Martin Price, who showed his true worth in this game. He had just celebrated his 50th birthday and had been heavily involved in being South Wales Coast Captain and Chairman of The Glamorgan Golfing Union over the past year. This, apart from filling a few extra teeth to make ends meet, meant that he had little spare time to concentrate on competitive golf. However, he was the captain’s pick for this tournament. Many, including Martin, were surprised at the choice but it proved to be a master stroke.

Martin had been drawn to play one of The Vale’s young guns. He was old enough to be ‘young gun’s’ grandfather and his handicap was 7 strokes worse. Against all the heavy betting placed on his opponent, Martin was 3 holes up at the turn and went on to finish off ‘young gun’ on the 17th. It was a feat that he was to repeat in the next 2 rounds.

The Glamorganshire’s victory over The Vale was a great scalp and propelled the team into the quarter finals. Better was to follow in their next match against one of the major favourites, Neath. Neath were reigning Glamorgan Premier League Champions with an awesome reputation. They could bully opponents in the same way as the brutish Brian Thomas had done for Neath RFC. The confrontation was built up as a total mismatch. Dwarfs versus giants or to put it more starkly, The Bluebirds against The Swans.

Up to inspire his team came ‘Captain Marvel’, Jordan, who was pitted against Neath’s most formidable player. Someone whose golfing prowess was feared by all comers. Jordan stood up to the plate and as David had done to Goliath so ‘Captain Marvel’ slew his opponent with a dazzling exhibition of golf. It was a signal to his teammates behind to follow his lead and they dutifully obliged.

The Glamorganshire had not featured in a semi final since 1988. Another keen local rival, Radyr, were waiting in the wings to take them on. Word got out to The Glamorganshire members that something special was happening and urging them to come and support the boys the following morning. They did so in substantial numbers which added to the drama which was about to unfold. The match was to be nail biting stuff right through to the very last putt.

‘Captain Marvel’ again led from the front and won his game. Pat Welch and Dan ‘Spud’ Reid stumbled in their games to narrow losses, leaving it to the old heads, Brian Rigby and Martin Price, to try and turn the match round. The omens weren’t looking good as they faced going down the 18th. They were both 1 down but miraculously were able to win the hole resulting in a sudden death down extra holes.

Going down the first extra hole, the par 4 1st, Brian hit a storming drive and struck his second shot into the middle of the green. His opponent was on the green in 3. Brian put him out of his misery with a superb 15 foot putt which was accompanied by an outburst of joy from his supporters.

By now the crowds had really built up along the 1st fairway. Martin and his opponent both hit the green in 2 with Martin slightly closer to the hole. The Radyr man just missed his putt and Martin lipped out with his. Both putts were then conceded.

The second extra hole was the tricky par 3 2nd. The hole was positioned in the jaws of 2 bunkers at the front of the green. It was the narrowest part of the green, only some 18 feet across with the green sloping up to the bunkers. Martin struck a lovely shot which came to rest 10 feet short of the pin. His opponent’s ball ended up some 12 feet diagonally above the hole and close to a bunker. The Radyr player failed to take full account of the borrow and his putt sailed by the hole. Although The Glamorganshire members wouldn’t normally wish ill on an opponent, it was clear from the expression on their faces what they were hoping as they watched the progress of that putt.

There was a deathly hush and a great intake of breath by the crowd as Martin stepped up to take his putt. It wasn’t a simple one but there was no major borrow in it’s path and provided it was struck well there shouldn’t be any real problem. Time seemed to stand still and it felt like an eternity before the ball fell into the cup. The crowd immediately erupted, orchestrated by Martin uncharacteristically doing a Woosie whoop and pose. It was accompanied by Martin being engulfed in rapturous embraces by teammates and supporters. You would have thought that the team had just won The Ryder Cup such was the outbreak of unparalleled joy.

The whole occasion had certainly been emotionally draining and the team had little recovery time before facing Parc Golf Club in the final. The Glamorganshire hadn’t reached this stage in the competition for 78 years, over 50 years before their opponent club was founded!

Jordan again led off, followed by Brian, Martin, Pat and Dan. Captain Marvel continued with his very impressive run of form and chalked up his 5th successive victory. Those behind him were clearly feeling the pressure from the magnitude of the occasion. The sheer exhaustion, both physically and mentally, from playing so many rounds of intensely competitive golf was beginning to taken it’s toll. Brian, who had been remarkably steady in previous rounds, found his game falling apart and he lost quite heavily. Martin, who had been up at the turn in his game, tired during the back 9 and eventually fell at the 16th. Pat, who had again been winning at the turn eventually lost 3 holes in a row to lose his game on the 17th and with it the match.

Although not the fairy tale ending The Glamorganshire team and members had been hoping it had been a Herculean effort. To get so far in the tournament had been totally unexpected. Nevertheless, the team had played it’s best and most consistent golf for some considerable time.

There might well have been stronger teams representing the Club since the 1930’s but for sheer tenacity and grit this team takes all the honours and were very worthy finalists. If nothing else it is to be hoped that their outstanding achievements will put The Glamorganshire back at the golfing top table where it belongs and inspire youngsters to emulate the heroes of 2015.

Welsh Team Champs1_optWelsh Team Champs4_optWelsh Team Champs5_optWelsh Team Champs2_optWelsh Team Champs3_opt




Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, The Glamorganshire (1890) is the oldest golf club in south-east Wales and the fourth oldest in Wales after Tenby (1888), Rhyl and Caernarvonshire (both founded earlier in 1890).

Over the following decade, The Glamorganshire played a major role in developing golf in Wales — including being a prime mover in the founding of the Welsh Golf Union.

It twice hosted the Welsh Amateur Championships, provided three Welsh champions and was the testing ground for the world- renowned Stableford scoring system devised by a member, Dr Frank Stableford.

The club brought the top professionals into South Wales for the first time and in 1901 staged a professional open tournament which featured ‘the great triumvirate’, Harry Vardon, James Braid and JH Taylor in front of a large crowd.

It also provided the impetus and expertise for the creation of several South Wales clubs, including Royal Porthcawl, Southerndown, Radyr and Dinas Powis.

For 60 years, Glamorganshire had an unmatched record of Welsh team championships. In one period between the wars it had a great winning team, the first five members of which were plus players and the eighth man had a handicap of one.

It is hard to keep pace with such an illustrious history but there is one feature that has remained constant — the course, which has retained its reputation as both a challenge and a pleasure for a century and a quarter. The course plays host every year to the Glamorganshire Baffie which attracts the best players in the area and the number who break par is not very high.

The views of the Bristol Channel from the top of the hill that dominates the course are spectacular. From the left, where the Severn bridges are clearly visible, the coast lines of Gloucester, Somerset and North Devon stretch down to the right.

The clubhouse, which is only 123 years old, not only reeks of golfing history but has an unrivalled link to world rugby. No club, anywhere, has played host to so many great rugby players. The famous Barbarians invitational rugby team adopted the club in 1901 as part of their Easter weekend fixtures against Welsh clubs. They relaxed on the Sunday at the Glamorganshire club, playing their own version of a golf competition and after a meal gathered in the bar with golf club members for a rousing sing-song.

The spikes bar has hardly changed over the years and, like the rest of the place, is steeped in history. Visitors to Glamorganshire get much more than a game of golf.



“Snakes and Ladders” Competition Spring 2015

The Spring Snakes Supper was held recently at the Glamorganshire after 10 weeks of competitive if sometimes erratic golf! Competition at either end of the ladder was fierce with no runaway winners or stand-out “Wooden Spoonists”. In the play-off for first place Jim Corsi and Richie Thomas posted 42 Stableford points to better Richie Hughes and Phil Harris’s 34. Both pairings lost only one match out of the ten played. In third place early favourites Jordan Price-Davies and Bryn Adams posted 36 Stableford points with two losses to beat David Elson and Sam Hooper’s two losses and 33points.

The play-off for the overall Snakes and Ladders champions took place on the Sunday before the Supper with Winter Snakes winners Tim Edds and Paul Wood prevailing over Jim and Richie by 5 and 4, and receiving the trophy from Chief Snake Dave “Hankie” Hancock. Hankie was surprisingly tongue-tied on the evening, probably as a result of maintaining a relentless barrage of insults, banter and politically incorrect observations over twenty weeks! Nonetheless he presided over events with his usual aplomb, remembering to thank Ollie Coughtrey and his bar staff for their hard work and Zibby and the catering staff for providing such an excellent meal.

After the more accomplished golfers were recognised, it was time to honour the hackers! Many of the usual suspects were once again in the frame. The Chief Snake did not use his discretionary power to award the Wooden Spoon based on factors other than golfing prowess, but announced that five pairings had won two or less matches. For their achievement in winning a single game Tom Parkinson and Tom Sidford were duly awarded the Wooden Spoon. From the hilarious acceptance speech that this little and large double–act gave, it was clear that they had long suspected that the trophy was theirs. The Winter Snakes and Ladders competition begins on Sunday 27th September when Snakers old and new will enjoy 10 weeks of competition.

Snakes March 15  2nd Place Hughes and Harris Snakes March 15  3rd Place Price-Davies & Adams Snakes March 15  4th Place Elson & Hooper Snakes March 15 5th Place Jones & Jenkins Snakes March 15 Wooden Spoon Parkinson & Sidford