A fitting send-off for George after a life devoted to golf

Former St Andrews golf club captain George Grant
Former St Andrews golf club captain George Grant

Tributes have been paid to one of St Andrews’ best-known citizens, George Grant, who has died at the age of 82.

George, a past captain of St Andrews Golf Club, passed away peacefully after a long battle with cancer.

There was standing room only in the golf club for the funeral service and afterwards the coffin was driven across the Old Course next to Grannie Clark’s Wynd as a final mark of respect, before committal at the St Andrews Western Cemetery.

His son Bill said: “This may seem a strange venue to some, however, his passion, his religion, was golf and his last wish was that we hold everything ‘at the club’.

“In an age where some people don’t even know who their next door neighbours are it’s comforting to know that here in the town we still have such caring and compassionate people in our community.”

Born in Strathkinness on October 12 1933, George was brought up in the village with his sisters Mary and Ann, and educated at Madras College.

He played rugby for the school and football for Kemback, St Andrews Swifts and finally Dundee United.

He served his time as an apprentice plasterer with Hutton of Ladybank, who had a yard in Argyle Street, and it was on these frequent bus journeys into St Andrews that he met his wife-to-be Jean, a ‘clippie’ on the buses.

It was after moving to St Andrews that the golf bug hit and a life-long association began with St Andrews Golf Club, which he joined in 1956.

He was appointed vice-captain in 1976 and became captain in 1978. He famously awarded honorary membership of the club to golfing legend Jack Nicklaus during the 1978 Open championship.

His love of the game made him the ideal candidate when a position as a golf steward at the Old Course Hotel came up allowing him to mix business and pleasure. Promoted to chief golf steward at the hotel, this gave him the opportunity to ‘meet and greet’ golfers and celebrities from all over the world, including Sean Connery, Bruce Forsyth, Peter Allis, Gary Player and Prince Rainier of Monaco. It was part of his job to ensure they secured a tee time on the Old Course.

Company policy dictated he retire at 65, but one Stateside company decided it was too good an opportunity to miss and offered to set him up at home as their Scottish representative.

He organised golf tours for their wealthy American clients throughout Scotland and Ireland and ensured their stay in Scotland was as memorable as possible.

Predeceased by his wife Jean who died suddenly in 1997 aged 66, he is survived by his daughter Frances, who works in St Andrews Tesco, sons Bill and David, and two grandsons.