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New R&A captain drives-in

11.08am 24th September 2021 - People

The traditional driving-in ceremony for the new Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews took place on the 1st tee of the Old Course today (Sept 24).

Peter Forster started his year in office with a drive at precisely 8am as a cannon fired alongside the tee.

As Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Mr Forster will serve in an ambassadorial role for The R&A to support its work in developing golf around the world and will attend R&A professional and amateur championships, including The 150th Open at St Andrews next July.

After hitting his tee shot, Mr Forster said, “I am truly honoured to be the Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. I look forward to representing the Club and The R&A in the coming year, one in which we will celebrate the historic staging of The 150th Open here in St Andrews.

“It was fantastic to see so many fellow Members and people of the town turn out for this wonderful tradition and enjoy the atmosphere around the first tee. I was certainly relieved and delighted to make a good contact with the ball and give the caddies a decent shot to retrieve.”

Born in Edinburgh, Mr Forster was educated at Rannoch School and then Agricultural College in Aberdeen. He started work on his family’s tenanted farm of Peacehill, Wormit, ten miles north of St Andrews, in 1972. He purchased Peacehill Farm in 1990, expanding the property through acquisitions to 1800 acres owned and 700 acres rented. He is now retired and continues to be a director of Peacehill Farming Ltd and Peacehill Gas Ltd.

Mr Forster became a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1972. He was elected to the Club Committee from 1999 to 2003 and became its Chairman from 2001 to 2003. He was appointed as a Trustee of St Andrews Links Trust from 2004 to 2013 and served as its Chairman from 2009 to 2013. In 2020, he was elected Chairman of the Inter-Clubs Liaison Committee in St Andrews.   

Mr Forster is also a member of The Ten Golf Club of St Andrews, Scotscraig Golf Club and the Seniors Golfing Society. He is Chief Locust of the Locust Golf Society which was founded in 1964 by four members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. He is a member of the North East Fife Rotary Club and was made a Paul Harris Fellow in 2019.

Aged 71, Mr Forster currently plays to a handicap of 18. He is married to Mary and they have two children, Karina and Ross, and six grandchildren. His other interests include fishing, hillwalking, skiing, snowboarding and tennis. He has played rugby for Panmure Rugby Club and was its President from 1999 to 2001.

In the past, the Club Captaincy was bestowed on the winner of the annual Challenge for the Silver Club but by the early 19th Century the Captaincy had become an elected office. Part of the tradition is that the new Captain buys his golf ball back from the caddie who retrieves and returns it with a gold sovereign. 

Ed Rankine, who lives in Leven and has been a caddie in St Andrews since 2019, successfully returned the ball to Mr Forster on what was his third attempt in the driving-in ceremony.

“It feels super to have returned the ball,” said Rankine. “I actually caddied for Peter during the Calcutta Cup event so everyone was asking me ‘where do you think his drive’s going to go?’ and I said ‘well, I’m going to stand short left of the fairway’ and that’s how it turned out in the end.” 

Ed Rankine, (left), successfully returned the ball to Peter Forster (right), the new Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, at the traditional driving-in ceremony

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