Tributes paid to golf writing great Jock MacVicar

Jock MacVicar. Photograph: Kenny Smith.
Jock MacVicar. Photograph: Kenny Smith.

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Tributes are being paid to legendary golf writer Jock MacVicar, a Southend native, after his sudden death last weekend.

Jock, 83, passed away peacefully at Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Saturday after a fall at his home in the city a few days earlier.

Known as the ‘doyen’ of Scottish golf journalism, the long-serving Scottish Daily Express golf correspondent reported on the sport for almost six decades and continued working until his death.

Among those paying tribute is seven-time Scottish Women’s champion, Belle Robertson, with whom Jock attended primary school in Southend, and then secondary school in Campbeltown.

The pair, both proud members of Southend’s Dunaverty Golf Club, became the first non-Tour professionals to enter Scottish golf’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

Belle, 84, who now lives in Campbeltown, told the Courier that it was ‘a pleasure’ to have known Jock.

She said: ‘Our association went right back to primary school in Southend – at Southend Public School, as it was officially called then. I went to school one year and Jock came the next year.’

The pair went on to become two of the best known names in Scottish golf, Belle through her success on the course and Jock through his coverage of the sport.

Belle Robertson and Jock MacVicar became the first non-Tour professionals to enter Scottish golf's Hall of Fame in 2017. Photograph: Kenny Smith.
Belle Robertson and Jock MacVicar became the first non-Tour professionals to enter Scottish golf’s Hall of Fame in 2017. Photograph: Kenny Smith.

Jock interviewed Belle from time-to-time before her retirement in the mid-1980s.

She said: ‘When he interviewed me, he would say, “Before we start, any news of home?” He took the name of Dunaverty and publicised it worldwide.

‘When I was on the way up, people would say, “Dunaverty, where’s that?” and I’d say, “Paul McCartney, Mull of Kintyre, you know?” I used to say that between Paul McCartney, Mull of Kintyre and Jock MacVicar, we got Dunaverty on the map.’

A Dunaverty Golf Club spokesperson said: ‘Everyone at Dunaverty Golf Club is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our honorary member and dear friend Jock MacVicar. Jock was a great supporter of Dunaverty and spread the word of our fantastic course around the world. Our thoughts are with Jock’s family and friends.’

Belle added: ‘Jock was very well respected in the industry. He had a lovely way – if somebody said something in frustration when they came off the golf course, mad at themselves, something that could maybe be twisted another way from what was intended, Jock never crossed the line of doing that.

‘If he did have a wee criticism of somebody, he always found the nicest possible way to say it. He had a nice way with words and a nice way with people.’

The week he died, Jock took part in an interview about The Masters, one of the four major championships in professional golf, which began this week.

‘It was in connection with Scotland’s interest in Robert MacIntyre from Oban,’ Belle said. ‘Jock was fiercely proud of the fact, I think, that he could mention Kintyre and Oban.

‘It’s a pleasure to have known him all those years and, for me, it was a wee link with Kintyre too.

‘Although Jock lived in Glasgow, he kept coming back to Kintyre to see his family and friends, so he obviously enjoyed being here.’

Jock came from a line of renowned MacVicars from Southend. As well as writing for the Campbeltown Courier, his father Angus was a prolific author in a number of genres, including crime thrillers, juvenile science fiction, and autobiography. Jock’s grandfather, also named Angus, was an eminent a Presbyterian minister in the Church of Scotland who served the Southend parish from 1910 to 1957.