A Strabane Golfing Legend

brian_patton_01While the world of golf is currently singing the praises of young Irish golfer Rory McElroy, Strabane Golf Club’s Brian Patton has had a life-long sparkling career in the sport and has played with and against many of the world renowned professional and amateur golfers.

A measure of the high esteem Brian Patton is held at Strabane Golf Club is echoed by club captain Eamon McCay. “Brian Patton has been a tremendous ambassador for Strabane Golf Club and his high octane performances over many, many years have put us on the golfing map.” McCay told the Strabane Herald. “He has also been a role-model for the young players and has passed on his golfing expertise to many a young hopeful. He has won everything that can be won in the sport and represented Strabane C.C. and Northern Ireland with distinction in many important tournaments over the years. “Brian is a real gentleman as well as a very competent golfer and he would go out of his way to help anyone in any way he could. “It would be fair to say that Brian Patton graduated from a raw golfing recruit to an experienced and highly skilled scratch player.”

Patton, now 60 years-of-age tells the Strabane Herald how he got started in the sport, his role-model, the tournaments he played in and how he made so many friends in a sport that so many people take up to just relax. “It all started for me in 1958 and I was just nine years of age. My father Francie was a keen golfer in his heyday and he gave me the inspiration and motivation to take up golf myself,” Patton told the Strabane Herald. “My father is 88 now but still has a keen interest in the sport that has been very kind to both of us and opened up a lot of avenues where competitors became firm friends and those friendships were for life.”

Recently, Brian Patton helped to organise a tournament in aid of MacMillan Cancer Trust and raised £1,500 for this very worthwhile organisation. Many well known golfers took part. “Bob Walton, the Ryder Cup player, Leslie and David Robinson, Seamus Duffield and Sean Devenney were just some of the big names who joined members of Strabane Golf Club to raise funds for McMillen Cancer Trust, said Patton.  “It was a hugely successful event and every single player taking part really enjoyed giving of their time and golfing expertise for such a worthy cause.”

The Strabane golfer plays under a handicap of four and won so many Scratch Tournaments that he’s actually lost count of the number. He’s also rubbed shoulders with some of the finest Irish golfers. “I’ve played with Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Gareth Gimpsey and many more of the leading golfers. There’s always something special when you compete against the very best. The skill and uncanny judgement of these men is something to behold. “I’ve also discovered that the best golfers around are real gentlemen and willing to help in any way.”

Brian Patton is one of Strabane Golf Club’s finest. In 1985 he was beaten in the final of the Northern Ireland Amateur Cup and took part in the Irish Championships in 1986, 77, 88 and 89. He also represented Ulster against Denmark in 1987 and made firm friends with a number of Danish players he competed against and those friendships have also lasted the test of time. “That’s one of the things I love about the sport of golf. I have made friends galore wherever I played and I have played all over Ireland and further a field too,” he confessed. “Golf is the most relaxing sport in the world and that’s why so many people take it up. It also keeps you physically fit, alert and ready for the next challenge.”

Strabane Golf Club will be celebrating its Centenary this year. The club was formed in 1909 and has grown in strength ever since. “Our Centenary will be a real milestone for Strabane Golf Club and we’ll be inviting golfers from the past, various celebrities, and a number of top professionals and amateurs alike. “For me, golf has played a big part in my life and I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it. I haven’t got the strength anymore to play the sport I have loved since I was only a wee boy but the memories and the friendships I’ve made over the years, I will always cherish.”

Brian Patton has been one of the finest golfers ever to emerge from Strabane Golf Club. He’s been there, wore the tee-shirt and done it! What he wants now is for another couple of promising youngsters to emerge from his club and hit the big stage of the sport. “Irish great, Noel Carroll, is currently coaching the youngsters at the club and who knows, we could have one or two of them coming through to become prominent in amateur and professionals circles. “I would recommend the sport of golf to any aspiring sports person. The rewards are great not just in monetary terms but also in the friends that you make and make for keeps too.”

Neil Murray, Strabane Herald

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