The Roy Mason Story . . .
Club Professional 1955 - 1998
A Past President of the Club, Dr W S Gordon CBE used to have golfing holidays in Guernsey and it was there that Dr Gordon first met Roy Mason in 1955 and encouraged him to apply as Club Professional in succession to 'Plum' Plumbridge. It was quite a brave decision both for the Club to appoint Roy at the age of 23 and for him to accept that role but he had the attributes necessary to meet the challenges :
As a player . . .
Born in Buxton, Derbyshire, Roy was keen on football, and could well have had a career with Newcastle United had injury not interfered. So instead, when he was 14, he left school to become a greenkeeper at Buxton Golf Club.
National Service in the Royal Artillery came between stints at Buxton and Edgbaston Golf Clubs: as was common with talented sportsmen at that time, National Service consisted largely of playing sports for service teams including his first posting, when he was stationed virtually on the 3rd fairway at Royal Troon in Scotland!
Until the age of 11 (handicap then also 11) Roy played golf left handed (he was naturally left handed) but difficulty in finding left-handed clubs caused him to convert to playing right handed. In 1949, having played for England Boys in the previous two years, he was made Captain, an honour which until that time had always gone to public schoolboys, not to artisan members of a Midlands golf club.
Roy was a member of a golfing dynasty. At one time his Uncle Joe, brothers Don and Tom, and Roy himself, formed the core of the Derbyshire County Team. When he was 18 Roy came 17th in the Open at Royal Troon, and he was for many years holder of the course record at Stoke Poges, to say nothing of the 63 course record (9 fours and 9 threes) he scored at Goring & Streatley in 1956.
The best aspect of Roy's game was his superb iron play. The quality of his golf was such that he was allocated a handicap of plus four by the Committee for matches with members - which was sustained for most of the years he was Club Professional.
As a teacher . . .
Roy worked with golfers of all abilities from the tournament professional to the many thousands of ordinary golfers whom he helped to improve both their performance and enjoyment of the game. In the summer months typically 30 - 40 lessons a week would take place.
Some of the players taught went on to enjoy great success both in the amateur and professional game. Above all the achievements of son Carl on the European Tour - the highlights of which were winning the Andalucian Open and the Scottish Open in 1994 - were particularly proud moments. It is sad that following his death in 2001 Roy has missed Carl's victories on the European Seniors Tour ending both the 2003 and 2004 seasons as number one on the Order of Merit.
Other notable accomplishments were John Cook winning the English Amateur Championship on 26th July 1969 at Royal St George's, and Simon Pardoe who won the British Boys Championship at Formby on 12th August 1988 and the Welsh Amateur Championship in 1991 at Ashburnham, Llanelli.
Roy's daughter Denise also was also a star pupil, who was often described as "the best golfer in the family", having been a girl international and county player.
As a Club Pro . . .
The job of a golf club professional extends beyond playing and teaching into shop services and an advisory role. The personality of the individual is also a key attribute. Roy's charming and friendly approach to both members and visitors was of the highest standard.
Together with his wife Rita (Roy first met Rita when, at the age of seven, they had adjoining beds in a ward in an isolation hospital suffering from scarlet fever!) they formed a magnificent team. The Club became for them almost an extended family through supporting the social functions at the Club and organising golf holidays for members.
Roy Mason guided the Club through many years of change. His efforts and sheer professionalism are remembered with our thanks and appreciation.