Donald Steel, writer and golf course architect, has accepted the nomination to become President Elect of the English Golf Union for the year 2005 with a view to becoming its President in 2006.
A former Fleet Street golf journalist with the Sunday Telegraph for 30 years, Steel admits to being bowled over by his nomination. “It came as a total surprise, like a bolt from the blue,” he says. “I am surprised because I have never done any administrative work with the EGU or with my county, BB&O. But I presume this recognition stems from writing and golf course architecture, which has precluded my attempting any administrative duties. I regard that as a great compliment to my two ‘trades‘.”
The EGU Presidency should present no problems to Steel as he has, at various times in recent years, held similar posts with the Association of Golf Writers, the British Institute of Golf Course Architects, and the Public Schools Golfing Society.
Born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, 67 years ago, Steel was educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh and at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he was a member of its golf team for three years.
He began playing around the age of eight and after Cambridge was capped by England for the Home Internationals in 1970. He has been a member at Denham Golf Club for 50 years, of the R&A since 1962, and is also a member of West Sussex and Royal Worlington.
In 1961, at the age of 23, he joined the newly established Sunday Telegraph as its golf correspondent, becoming the youngest specialist writer in Fleet Street. He stayed until 1990 by which time his golf course design work was becoming more demanding.
Steel had set up his own course design company three years earlier and he continues to be much sought after from his base in Chichester. He has designed around 70 courses in 20 countries since 1987 and is currently involved in six projects from the Bahamas and the United States to Portugal.
He has a strong affinity with the EGU’s headquarters at Woodhall Spa as he designed the new Bracken Course there while he also handled the changes to the course at Hoylake, where the 2006 Open Championship will be staged in his presidential year.
Steel is the author of several books and has just completed the third volume of the history of the R&A.
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