Since the beginning of time (i.e., 1860), the British Open has been played on just 14 courses. I’ve played all of them at least once, and I’ve played most of them more than once, and in 2010 I played all 14 in a two-week trip. Here’s my ranking, in reverse order…..
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Ian Bamford, a former captain of Royal Portrush, who has been involved in golf for more than 70 years, has been honoured by the Irish Golf Writers Association at a ceremony in Dublin.
He was presented with an award for distinguished services to golf in Ireland which acknowledged an outstanding career as a champion player and leading administrator.
The award was handed over by the Sunday Independent’s Dermot Gilleece, the association’s chairman after the secretary, Philip Reid of the Irish Times, detailed Bamford’s achievements which stretched back to 1954 when he won the first of his two North of Ireland Championships.
He is a past winner of the Irish Amateur Open (Portmarnock, 1957) and played for Ulster and Ireland.
Mr Bamford, a former Ulster Branch honorary secretary, who went on to become president of the Golfing Union of Ireland (1993), the year he became a member of the R & A, the game’s ruling body. He is a past captain and president of Warrenpoint and in 2002 was captain at Portrush, his spiritual home where he has been a member since 1944.
Three times major winner Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry, named by the association as Irish Golfer of the Year, were among the guests who attended the awards night at Castleknock where Mr Bamford, a lawyer and retired District Judge, spoke of his pride at receiving the accolade.
Previous winners include Paul McGinley, captain of the winning European Ryder Cup team, Garth McGimpsey (2003), Christy O’Connor Snr (1984), Joe Carr (1981) and Fred Daly (1979).
He said: “It is an unbelievable honour for me and for my long suffering family.”
Mr Bamford played with O’Connor, Carr and Daly, the 1947 Open Champion, in the early years of his career when he studied law at Trinity College, Dublin. “It was a thrilling experience and steep learning curve for me at that time,” he said.
With the 148th Open Championship due to be held at Royal Portrush in 2019, Mr Bamford, the club historian, has been keeping a close eye on the development of two new replacement holes on the Dunluce links which were originally designed by Harry Colt, as well as extensive work on the adjoining Valley course.
The process is being supervised by the leading golf architect Martin Ebert with the full endorsement of one of the club’s elder statesmen. <0>He said: “Colt was a creative genius whose design stood the test of time and Martin Ebert’s skills will certainly enhance the links. Once the work is completed, both courses will be fantastic.”
Sir Richard McLaughlin, the club captain said it must have been a proud for Mr Bamford to have entered the pantheon alongside the likes of Garth McGimpsey and Fred Daly.
In a letter to Mr Bamford he wrote: “It is a richly deserved honour for you and fitting recognition of a lifetime playing golf, representing club and country, making a vital contribution to its organisation and administration and enriching the lives of all who have had the privilege to spend time in your company.”