George calls time after 50 years at Goswick
Goswick Golf Club said farewell to one of its most loyal servants last week when greenkeeper George '˜Geordie' Thompson retired after 50 years on the links.
Wednesday, April 6, was a red letter day for George, for not only was it the date of his retiral, but it also marked 50 years to the day since he first started working on the course.
George was born and bred at Goswick, where both his parents worked, and when he left school in 1966, at the age of 15, he started his apprenticeship there.
He eventually took over from his father John as head greenkeeper in 1977.
Since taking over the role, he has witnessed Goswick become one of the leading golf courses in the north east of England – as was proved when the venue was awarded regional open qualifying status from 2008 to 2012, an accolade it will get again from 2018 to 2022.
That is something of which George is particularly proud.
“I’m proud to have been a part of the club building a name for itself to become one of the iconic clubs in the north east of England, and the first day of regional open qualifying, when all the players were arriving at the course and then teeing it up, was the pinnacle for me,” he said.
“I’m just going to potter around now. I’ve got two trained gun dogs, and I’m very keen on my shooting, so that’ll keep me busy, but I won’t miss getting up at 4.45am in the summertime, that’s for sure!”
A golf day was recently held to mark George’s half-century at the club, with an evening function to celebrate that achievement.
On the playing side, George, for some time, was a scratch player, and he won the club championship for three successive years from 1979.
As a top amateur, he played in major events such as the Brabazon Trophy and the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase and was selected for the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association’s Scotland team to play their US counterparts at St Andrews.
Chairman Colin Edney said: “The fact that the revised layout at Goswick was recognised by the Royal and Ancient in asking us to host the open regional qualifying is, in itself, a tribute to George. That the R&A have asked the club to do it again is an unheard-of compliment and a lasting legacy to all that George has achieved and done for the club.”