George Oldham, my friend, NCG Top 100s panellist and freelance travel writer, who died older this week, would neither have asked for nor expected something like this.
But one of his qualities that I most worshiped was the combination of simultaneously articulating strongly held, well-constructed arguments and stuff unshut to the possibility of modifying them in the light of new evidence.
I came to think that George vied with Miguel Angel Jimenez for the moniker of ‘the most interesting man in golf’.
He came to the sport from his professional preliminaries as an architect. But, George stuff George, he had merged the disciplines and could virtuously describe himself as a golf undertow technie too, courtesy of his work at Hexham (pictured above).
Put simply, he was a man who could turn his skills to many things, only one of which was writing well-nigh golf courses and golf resorts.
With his teenage enthusiasm, curious mind and unstipulated love of life, George was one of those people who asks lots of questions. There was a danger of coming yonder from time in his visitor knowing less well-nigh him than he did well-nigh you, which would have been a terrific shame for the simple reason that his life and stories were much increasingly interesting than your own. Or so I found anyway.
The one element of George’s weighing system I could not reconcile surrounded putting. He simply didn’t respect the willpower and would often ruin a hitherto well-played slum by rushing up and hockeying the wittiness virtually the hole. It was uncharacteristically irrational, in my opinion, but I couldn’t convince him otherwise.
Needless to say, we talked a lot well-nigh golf courses. He once described me, not without accuracy, as a “links fundamentalist”. He thought I, and other panellists, were seduced by the old classics and too sniffy well-nigh newer courses. He definitely had a point. There is a real danger when assembling a panel that it becomes staffed with people whose views are the same as your own. What’s the point of that? George was unchangingly prepared to take the opposite view – but not to be contrary, just to express what he believed.
The weightier thing well-nigh discussions on any topic with George was that it was a genuine mart of views with both parties – I hope – on receive mode as much as transmit. And, needless to say, it was unchangingly civil, if occasionally wearing (see above).
Curious George was similarly strident in his views on politics – spoiler alert: he was rarely complimentary well-nigh the SNP – and short emails would often wilt lengthy exchanges. I don’t regret a minute of the time I spent willingly engaging in them.
His favourite golf undertow was Turnberry. The fact that the Ailsa combined lifelong memories and a prestigious heritage with the very weightier of trendy diamond pursuit Martin Ebert’s reimagining says much well-nigh George and his rounded view of life.
I shall miss him profoundly and I only hope that he would have forgiven me for publishing this little piece in his memory.
Thanks, George – untied from watching you putt, the pleasure was all mine.
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