Sunday, October 28, 2007


The European team to defend the trophy in the fifth match against the United States for the Hickory Grail at Brook Hollow Country Club, Texas on Monday is captained by David Kirkwood from Edinburgh and contains five other Scots.
They are: David's wife Gillian Kirkwood, chairman of the Ladies Golf Union international selection committee, Scotscraig member Ron Beatt from Fife, David Hamilton from St Andrews, John Still, brought up in Aberdeen but now living in Edinburgh, and William Tanner from Kelty, Fife.
The European team are made up of members of the British Golf Collectors' Society. All the players in the foursomes and singles match will be using authentic hickory-shafted golf clubs from the pre-1935 era and will be suitably dressed.
The two teams play for an antique water pitcher, donated by John Crow Miller and his family, and it has been affectionatly christened "The Hickory Grail."
A 12-a-side hickory match between European and American members of the BGCS was introduced immediately before the 2000 Scottish Hickory championship at Kilspindie. In the first year, the match was singles only but subsequent match formats have been foursomes and singles, similar to the Walker Cup.
The first two matches in 2000 and 2001 resulted in wins for USA at the Kilspindie links.
A European team and supporters travelled to New York State in 2003 and succeeded in winning the Grail over the historic course of St Andrews Golf Club at Hastng-on-Hudson.
St Andrews was the first golf club to be founded in the Unted States.
In this match, as in the first, the contest was decided on the last putt, on the last green of the last match.
In 2005 a team of Americans returned to Kilspindie where, in a exciting contest, the match was halved and, in true Walker Cup fashion Europe retained the trophy.


David Kirkwood (team captain). Educated in Edinburgh, David runs the family business of medallists, silversmiths and engravers. Twice Captain of Broomieknowe GC, member of Gullane, St Andrews New and Atlanta Athletic Club. Also Captain of 2003, 2005 European Grail teams.
Ron Beatt. Born and educated in Fife. Retired grocery retailer. Member Scotscraig GC in 1956, (Gold Medal, 1969, 1970, and youngest-ever Captain). Has had nine holes in one and commands an extensive repertoire of Scottish songs. Won the 2007 BGCS Open Meeting. Grail debut.
Keith Bilbie. A retired Police Inspector from Nottingham, Keith is a member of Radcliffe-on-Trent GC, where he serves on Greens Committee. Former winner of the Scottish Hickory Championship. Committee member BGCS. Grail debut.
Stuart Gibbs. Starting with his mother’s hickory clubs at the age of eleven, Stuart has retained a single-figure handicap for the last 49 years. His collection of putters range from 1880 to 1930. Fourth Grail. Wide-ranging golf tourist.
David Hamilton. Retired transplant surgeon from St Andrews, who runs the Partick Press, writing and printing golf history by traditional letterpress methods. Member R&A, Thistle Club, USGA Museum and Library Committee. Vice-captain BGCS. Co-founder Hickory Grail.
John Hanna. The Captain of BGCS was born in Belfast, and is a retired academic. Irish Universities Golf Team 1973; Captain Malone GC 1989; Programme Co-ordinator World Scientific Congress of Golf St Andrews 1998 and 2002. Collects postcards and porcelain.
Gillian Kirkwood. Member Broomieknowe, Gullane and North Berwick Ladies. Past playing captain Midlothian CLGA, past Chairman Scottish LGA, current LGU Councillor and Chairman of the International Selection Committee; Chairman, Women Golfers’ Museum. First lady Grailer (St Andrew’s, 2003).
Claes Kvist. Helsingborgs GC, Sweden. Keen competitor in Scottish, Welsh and English Hickory Championships. Played at Kilspindie in 2005. Works as Estate Broker, practises meditation and studies Buddhist philosophy.
Clive Mitchell. Retired businessman with 8 of a handicap. "Collects" golf clubs – Blackwell, Little Aston, Royal Porthcawl, Sotogrande – books, paintings and equipment. Featured in nail-biting climax to 2005 Grail.
Tony Norcott. Insurance broker from the Midlands, specialising in service to major golf clubs. Member Copt Heath GC. Collecting interests in Open Championship programmes and classic cars. Third Grail.
Nigel Notley. Independent financial adviser living in Hertfordshire. Built own course at Llandovery College 1970. Hertfordshire UGC team 1974-1986. Member Royal Worlington, Porters Park (Captain 1999) and MCC. Committee member BGCS. Critical win in 2005 Grail. Graham Rowley. Midlander, member of Enville, Royal Blackheath, St Andrews and Carnoustie. Founder BGCS member in 1987, Graham runs an internet auction site dedicated to golf memorabilia.
John Sherwood. A former fireman with the Kent Brigade, John is an international dealer in golf memorabilia. Joined BGCS in 1993, and plays at Canterbury GC. Multiple winner of hickory events in both GB and USA.
John Still. A Chartered Accountant and Financial Adviser, John was brought up in Aberdeen, lives in Edinburgh’s New Town, and pursues golfing antiques and memorabilia of exceptional quality. Fourth appearance in the Grail.
William Tanner. A builder and property developer, Bill is currently constructing his own nine-hole golf course at Kelty, in Fife and has an important collection of antique clubs. This is his second Grail.
Tony Thorpe. A retired police officer, Tony is member at Coxmoor GC and is current President of the Nottinghamshire UGC Current Hon Secretary, BGCS. Collects golf club centenary histories.
Phillip Truett. Underwriting agent for Lloyds, with one of the finest book collections in private hands. Member Walton Heath, R&A, and Rye. Founding committee member, senior past captain and recent Honorary Life Member, BGCS. Member Heritage Committee, R&A, and USGA Museum & Library Committee. Fifth Grail.

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