As only the third person to receive the accolade in the club’s near 50-year history, he follows in the footsteps of two of golf’s icons – the late celebrated UK golf writer and commentator, Henry Longhurst, and Peter Alliss, the ‘voice of golf,’ who died last year.
During a ceremony held by the club following its autumn meeting over the Old Course, St Andrews-born Mr Joy (72) was presented with the honour by the club’s current captain, Barrie Liddle.
Also a prize-winning artist, playwright, author and actor, Mr Joy is internationally-known for his compelling portrayal on stage and screen for more than 30 years of Old Tom Morris. He has appeared in the role throughout the UK and in many parts of the world, including the USA, Japan and Canada.
This year marks the bicentenary of the birth in St Andrews of Old Tom and in 2005 Mr Joy famously played him in a series of hilarious adverts on American television for Titleist golf balls alongside British actor and comedian John Cleese.
Over many years, Mr Joy as patron of the international golf fellowship charity, Keepers of the Green – it used Old Tom as its figurehead - raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to provide powered mobility, giving life changing experiences to both young and old. The annual presentation of wheelchairs took place at Open Championships and other events across the UK.
A former chairman of the Byre Theatre Trust in St Andrews, he is a life member of St Andrews Golf Club and the St Andrews Burns Club, serving as president of the latter in 2001-02.
In 2012 he received the inaugural Old Tom Award for his contributions to promoting St Andrews from the then First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond.
An inspired author, Mr Joy is currently writing his sixth book on golf, which includes many of his own illustrations.
Mr Joy suffered a severe stroke in 2017, but has continued to paint and draw, and his work – in particular his drawings of wildlife and his paintings of his signature ‘scapes’, the latter of which were featured in an exhibition in Dundee in 2019 are much sought after.
Every year he illustrates and frames the new Open champion, which is then added to his exclusive collection, parade of champions, and he has produced every winner of the Claret Jug since 1860.
This week at his studio and garden on the outskirts of St Andrews, he was putting the finishing touches to this year’s champion, Collin Morikawa.
A fourth generation St Andrean, Mr Joy has been a member of the XIXth Hole GC since its foundation, and served as its captain in 1983 and again in 2005.
Speaking after the ceremony, he said: “I am humbled to be following such distinguished past honorary members.”
Club captain, Barrie Liddle, added: ”It was a privilege to present David with honorary membership. He has done so much, not only for the XIXth Hole GC, but also for the town of St Andrews and the history of the game of golf.”