In 1932, when I was only 16, my father took me to Roehampton for a practice round before the tournament on the next day. When we got to the first tee, a four-ball comprised of three subsequent Open Champions – Alf Perry, Alf Padgham and Reg Whitcombe – plus the Ryder Cup player Bert Hodson was waiting to drive off.
Bert Hodson was a particular pal of my Dad’s. “Come and join us Gus,” he said.
“Well I’ve got my son with me,” Dad replied.
“That’s all right, bring him in too,” he said.
Alan Daly then joined us so we ended up as a 7-ball. To make the game more interesting, it was agreed that we should play a sixpence per hole accumulator. This means that we all staked sixpence per hole until one of us was a clear winner at a hole and scooped the pool, when we would start again.
I was so excited playing with all these champions that I was playing inspired golf and keeping up with them all the way. The accumulator got larger and larger and still no one could win. Eventually at the 15th I got a birdie which none of the others could match.
They had a good laugh that they should have been beaten by a kid, although some were not so happy handing over their seven shillings and sixpence.
My Dad wouldn’t give me anything. “You’ve made enough money already,” he said.