Friday, February 12, 2016

Golspie's elder statesman Jim Fraser dies at 92

It is with sadness that I only learned of the death of Golspie golfer Jim Fraser, at the age of 92, a day after his funeral that took place on February 4 and further regret that I was not able to attend.

Golspie Golf Club has lost one of its elder statesmen who had given the club and his golf course over forty years of his life in roles of Committee member, Captain, President, Secretary and a dedicated member who had the foresight to build the new clubhouse further along the Ferry Road in 1967, for all of which he was eventually honoured with life membership.

The golf clubs also in the Counties of Sutherland, Caithness and Ross-shire can look back upon him as one of three pioneering golf administrators who introduced Winter Alliance Golf to their fixture cards  in 1965.  The trio, who discussed the idea of completive play beyond October when most golfers were putting their clubs away, were, Hugh Baillie of Brora, Eoin MacKintosh of Royal Dornoch and Jim Fraser representing Golspie Golf Club.  At the outset play was confined to Sutherland's three links courses, but eventually encompassed  Tain, Wick, Reay, Furness, Invergordon  and Tarbat Golf Courses.

Eoin “Tosh” MacKintosh took the role of secretary until his untimely death after just two seasons and his obvious replacement was Jim who had already taken over from Tosh the position of Sutherland County Cup secretary in addition to serving on the North District executive.

Jim Fraser was groomed into golf administration by Golspie's other golfing guru, Bert Sinclair, Sutherland's first North District President, and as I was already secretary of Brora Golf Club and had travelled in Jim's company to District AGMs, got groomed into succeeding him as Alliance and County Secretary. 

But Jim's own golf did not suffer from all his admin work. His golfing pals (now also all sadly away): Hughie “Farr” Mackay, Alex Campbell, Douglas Robertson, Willie Andrew MacRae and Bobba Macrae all saw to that to that. 
Jim, pictured above in 1986, had won the Golspie club championship in 1957 and went on to win twice more at at time when Donald Urquhart and Robbie MacRae were dominant. 
With Robbie Macrae he led the Golspie team in the seriously contested inter-club matches against Brora and what a scalp when they beat Brora's No 1 pairing, Jim Miller and Ross Dawson.

He never missed a Golspie club outing to other courses in the North but the Buchan Firkin at Peterhead was always the first competition each year to be pencilled into the diary. 
Another page would be required to relate all the tales that came back from Peterhead when there was no such thing as breathalysers and after liberal measures of his favourite tipple “Glenfiddoch” perhaps only now can we recall the ditching of the car as they made their way back home after another enjoyable round! 
Thank you Jim for your help, advice and friendship, over many years. I hope others can reap what you sowed.

Robin Wilson



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