A NEW DAWN AT THE OLD COURSE HOTEL
Every July, three short statements totalling between 50 and 55 words make the golfing world stand to attention. The culmination of the game's original and greatest championship sees the figurehead of the R&A present prizes to the winner, runner-up and leading amateur.
For 15 consecutive Open Championships this responsibility fell to Peter Dawson CBE and he fulfilled his duty with a very unique gravitas. As the years passed, his voice, tone and acoustic pauses became ingrained within the tapestry of golf's oldest major. On practice greens around the world, young kids would impersonate the famed presentation after holing their very own pretend putt to land the Claret Jug. Fledgling tour pros would do exactly the same thing in practice - except silently in their own minds without fear of reproach from their peers. But when the dream moved to within touching distance - Sunday mornings prior to teeing off in the final round - those on the leaderboard would try to do everything possible to keep Peter's famed words as far from their thoughts as humanly possible.
Perhaps the most important phase of Peter's career at the R&A was overseeing the period where the club formed a separate group of companies to run the Open and carry out the wide ranging governance responsibilities throughout the world. This set the foundations for the thriving organisation we see today. After stepping down in 2015 following an illustrious innings, he went on to head up the International Golf Federation. In this role was responsible for the successful drive in bringing golf back to the Olympics after a 100+ year absence. Honours were to follow, with an OBE award in 2015 and furthermore a CBE in 2021.
At this stage Peter may have been content with doing a bit of gardening at his home in St Andrews, or work on maintaining an impressive golf game that formerly saw him captain the team at Cambridge University. But an opportunity recently presented itself for him to become Managing Director of the Old Course Hotel and avoid that dreaded word 'retirement' for at least a little while longer. Much like the R&A expansion in 2004, this new separation of roles within the hotel's management hierarchy will allow each position to specialise and flourish in its own capacity. Joining his team are Phyllis Wilkie - General Manager, and Cameron Steele - Director of Estates. Phyliss has been instrumental in building the long-standing relationship between Connoisseur Golf and The Old Course Hotel over the past 15 years, and we are delighted she has been handed the reins to manage the hotel on a day-to-day basis. Before returning to his homeland of Scotland, Cameron has developed his career from working as a pastry chef, to directing F&B at a number of luxury properties, to becoming a GM in his own right at a 5* resort in the Maldives.
Along with a stunning Penthouse, a new panoramic restaurant and a sublime new events space, the Old Course Hotel recently incorporated a third floor to the Champions Wing - increasing the room count by 31 to 175. This fresh investment in tandem with the three pronged approach to management is a blueprint for success. We're very excited to introduce our clients to the new facilities at the Old Course Hotel this summer, and wish the hotel's new managerial appointments every success in their new roles.