Swinging along - golf veteran Bobby Smith hits 90th birthday

Mr Bobby Smith (90th) along with Bobby McClymont, Senior Convener
Mr Bobby Smith (90th) along with Bobby McClymont, Senior Convener

Golfing evergreen Bobby Smith was well and truly lost for words at the Newburgh-on-Ythan club last Wednesday.

Senior members decided they couldn’t wait to mark his 90th birthday - three days later - and laid on a surprise celebration for the veteran of the fairways, known affectionately as Dazzler.

Former Formartine groundsman Bobby Smith, who is celebrating his 90th birthday, is congratulated by Colin Grant and Steve Paterson just before the kick off on Saturday.

Former Formartine groundsman Bobby Smith, who is celebrating his 90th birthday, is congratulated by Colin Grant and Steve Paterson just before the kick off on Saturday.

Bobby, believed to be the North-east’s oldest golfer, joined more than 40 seniors for a round which was followed by a surprise birthday get-together in the clubhouse.

A cake in the shape of a golf bag and clubs marked the 90th milestone and seniors convener Bobby McClymont spoke of Bobby’s many achievements over the years.

He recorded his first hole-in-one this year after golfing for around 40 years and in June was chosen to play with Ryder Cup star Paul Lawrie in the club’s Night of Golf.

The former Open champion referred to Bobby in his book “The Open Book”, in which he thanked the veteran “for letting me beat you.”

Bobby told the Times: “It was a double surprise. On Saturday, I thought I was going for a meal for about 12 in the clubhouse but there were about 50 people there.

“We have a very good seniors section and there’s great camaraderie. I really love golf and it beats sitting around the house and watching television.

“I’m out in all weathers. I can manage to walk the nine holes, but need a buggy for the eighteen.”

Bobby took along an engraved bottle of whisky - presented to him by the club on his 80th birthday - on Saturday night.

Newburgh secretary Don Hawthorn said he was an inspiration to everyone.

Don added: “At 90 years of age Bobby regularly beats his age going round the golf course. He is well-known for his early morning starts.

“Come hail or shine, you can expect to see him out among the leaders each Monday and Wednesday taking part in the seniors programme, and several other days beside.”

Don said Bobby, who lives in Newburgh, is a great ambassador for the club, adding: “ He is an inspiration to us all.”

Meanwhile, Bobby’s other love is football and it was a special birthday occasion at Formartine United’s home match against Lossiemouth on Saturday.

The former groundsman when United played at Udny Station was congratulated before kick off by manager Steve Paterson and club president Colin Grant.

Bobby has also been Formartine club president and served on the committee. He is still a season ticketholder and goes along to North Lodge Park regularly.

In his playing days he was a prolific scorer for Deveronvale.