Bamburgh's Desmond set to step into England Golf's top job

Rules expert, and Bamburgh GC member, Desmond Duffy has accepted the nomination to become President-elect of England Golf for 2017 with a view to becoming President in 2018.

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 12:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 13:41 pm

“I am proud and thrilled,” said Desmond, who has refereed at all levels of the game, including at eight Open Championships.

“I am looking forward to meeting a lot of old friends throughout the country, making new ones and visiting many clubs that, even after 24 years of refereeing, will be new to me. What joy.”

Desmond was a keen footballer in his teens but was prompted to try golf by the simultaneous arrival in his parish of a golf-playing priest and a new professional at Catterick Garrison Golf Club.

He took lessons, joined the club and began a notable golfing career in which he held a single figure handicap for 52 years. Even now, approaching his 80th birthday, he plays off 11.

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For the past 48 years Desmond has been a member at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, where he has been captain and club champion and is an honorary vice-president.

He deeply treasures the club and credits it with putting him on the path towards the national golfing stage.

First he became involved with the Northumberland Golf Union – where he has been president – and then went on to represent his county on the English Golf Union (now England Golf).

He joined the Tournament Panel and, over the years, has refereed at eight Open Championships, at the Walker Cup, the Palmer Cup, on the European Tour, European Senior Tour and at English amateur events.

Alongside his refereeing duties he has been a member of the EGU Board, represented England on the Council of National Golf Unions and been a member of the R&A Rules and Championship Committees.

He has been a member of the PGA Rules Panel since 2002.

“I have had a wonderful career refereeing at every level and visiting not only most of the British Isles but Europe as well.

“All that I owe to Bamburgh, Northumberland and England, each has been an important step along the way,” he said.

In his professional life Desmond trained as a quantity surveyor and worked in building contracting, eventually retiring as joint managing director of Tower Construction in Alnwick, Northumberland.

His interests outside golf including sitting as an education appeals panel member for seven local authorities in the North East and supporting his church.

Desmond’s wife, Erika, is a member at Bamburgh Castle and is the handicap secretary for the ladies’ section.

The couple have two children, Caroline, who lives with her husband and three children in Morpeth; and Paul, who lives with his wife and two children in New Zealand.

* England Golf is the governing body for amateur golf in England. It is one of the country’s largest sports governing bodies and looks after the interests of more than 1,900 golf clubs and 675,000 men, women, boy and girl club members.

England Golf is at the heart of grassroots golf, inspiring people to have a lifelong involvement in the game.

The development initiative ‘Get into golf’ introduces new golfers, juniors and adults, to start playing the game as well as increasing the interest and participation in golf.

Working with club partners, it offers business support to clubs to encourage more golfers to enjoy the benefits of club membership and to help promote the game as being accessible, fun and family friendly.

England Golf identifies and develops the most talented golfers through their amateur careers, many of whom go on to become world leading professional golfers, such as Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Charley Hull and Melissa Reid.