Carl’s theme for the year ahead was “Meeting Rotary’s Challenge in the Space Age”

International Golfing Fellowship of Rotarians
In 1963 Gavin Reekie, as Governor Nominee for District 101 attended the World Assembly at Lake Placid in New York State and at the final banquet was seated, along with his wife Connie, at the table of the incoming World President Carl Miller. Carl’s theme for the year ahead was “Meeting Rotary’s Challenge in the Space Age” and promoted the idea of Matched Districts. Gavin related the wonderful golfing liaison between District 101 and 728 and the Jackson Christy Porridge Bowl Trophy and suggested, to further the World theme of ‘Matched Districts’ that Carl should develop this golfing fellowship on a WORLD basis. Carl responded, “Gavin, I want you good people in Scotland to organize a similar competition between Districts on a World Basis and I will provide you with a suitable trophy. I will be in Scotland two months time. Let me have your ideas and we will finalize the details then”.

This meeting took place at Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland, on the 17th August, 1963. Carl was then the World President of Rotary International and Gavin was District Governor of District 101. Also present at this meeting were William Carter, President of R.I.B.I. and Willie McAslam, Governor of District 102, the only other District in Scotland at the time.

Based on Carl Miller’s theme, ‘Meeting Rotary’s Challenge in the Space Age”, and after much discussion, the well known Jewellers, A. & C. Cairncross, Perth, Scotlands, produced a suitable design. The Carl Miller Trophy continues to be the centerpiece of the many trophies and awards which have grown through the years. The trophy cost 256 English Pounds in 1964, which was paid by President Carl, and continues today as the most coveted of the IGFR trophies both both for its intrinsic value as well as its meaning to fellow golfing Rotarians. Gavin Reekie presented the “Runner-up” trophy and it continues today. Both are emblematic of the Space Age theme of President Carl.

The rules and the number of participants have changed considerably since the first World Tournament was held at St. Andrews, Scotland. There were 47 entrants and 10 countries represented. In 1998 there were over 500 Rotarians and guests, with more than 400 golfers in Pinehurst from 28 countries.

Some of the early rules were:

Lowest individual score – four rounds.
After the first two rounds, the field was reduced to 50, or half the number of starters, whichever was lowest.
The handicap maximum was 12, but any player could enter.
Handicap Divisions were later introduced. 0-12, 13-18, 19up. There is now a Women’s event which also has Divisions. At the 1997 meeting of the Board of Directors, a decision was made to incorporate the Stableford system to determine winners of many different groups and the 1998 Pinehurst venue is the first occasion to use this scoring system.

There are now over 20 national golf fellowship groups, the largest of which is the United States group (USGFR).

 

Golf is a great game to be played. A person who knows and understands this game finds it challenging and does not leave the golf course until he has completed all the holes. What makes this game even more challenging is the golf course itself.

Golf can be very relaxing and challenging at the same time. It challenges not only your physical game but makes one apply their mind too. Though one need not calculate the angle, distance, etc, to land the ball in a hole, they will definitely have to think before every shot.

The golf course is where many business meetings and even deals take place. What used to be known as a gentleman’s game is now played by women too. This game requires time, patience and real skill.

When Rotary members get together on the golf course, there is a lot of tension. This is the healthy type of tension where people bond and get to know each other well. Rotary organizes fellowships for these golf players, so that they get to know one another and also get  a chance to show off their golfing skills.

The turnout of these fellowships depends on the course chosen. If it is a good course with tricky holes, the turn out can be great and the energy can be infectious. You can see people frowning so much that they may require a bottle of Goji Cream, to ensure their foreheads don’t have the wrinkles permanently. Such is the focus given by the members. It is relaxed, laid back, yet challenging one another outside the business walls.