A tribute to Bobby Locke

Paging through a 1987 SA Golf magazine, I came across a tribute to the great Bobby Locke, who won 23 National Open Trophies including the SA Open 8 times, The Open championship 4 times, the French and Eqyptian Open twice each. His other wins were the New Zealand, Irish, Dutch, Mexican, Swiss and German Opens.

The most remarkable thing about Bobby Locke is that at only 17 years of age he won the SA Open and the SA Amateur as well as the Natal Amateur and Open.

His peak was a 22 year period between 1935 and 1957 in which period he annihilated the Americans on their own turf between 1947 and 1949 before being banned from playing in the US.

He amassed over 70 professional wins in a career in which World War II took place depriving him of 6 years of competitive play.

In addition to this setback was a British PGA ruling which debarred foreign players for 5 years from playing in any PGA sanctioned events.

In 1976 the R & A recognised his contribution to golf and elected him an honorary member of the club and in 1977 Arthur D’Arcy Locke was elected to the United States World Golf Hall of Fame.

My finest memories of Bobby Locke were at ERPM Golf Club during a Transvaal Open when after the 2nd round I made my way to the locker room only to be confronted by “the Maestro” who congratulated me on a fine round, saying “Well played out there Master – now tell me about your round starting with the second shot on the 18th”

The other, also in a locker room, the Maestro said to me – “your dad and I used to sink a few – and I don’t mean putts either”

Millions will remember him as the epitome of a gentleman. The stately progress of his portly frame down the fairways bore the gait of an Archbishop – The London Daily News.

There has never been a temperament like this and there won’t be for another 100 years – Max Faulkner.

Locke will be remembered as a man who brought not only a unique style but also a calm and orderliness to championship golf – The Guardian

Locke mounted the most successful one-man invasion of America in the modern era – Tom Ramsay (The Australian)

In his 59 tournaments in the USA, Locke won 13, was 2nd 10 times, seven times third and five times fourth. In 14 others, he finished between 5th and 14th.

His sense of sportsmanship and courtesy to all should be remembered as an example of how we should play the game of Golf!

Back Back to top