Bill Bryce, a Scot who has spent over 30 years in golf administration with the R&A, the EGU and Surrey, has accepted an invitation to become President of the English Golf Union in the year 2002.
Born in Glasgow 66 years ago, he is a Scottish solicitor and has been in the legal profession all his working life, joining the Distillers Company as a legal advisor in London in 1959. When Distillers was taken over by Guinness in 1986, Bill continued with the company until retiring in 1994.
His golfing career also began in Glasgow. Bill was reserve for the Scottish Boys in 1951 then captained the university team in 1957, earning a blue that same year. He also played for the Scottish Universities then, on moving south, joined Royal Mid-Surrey in 1960, which signalled the start of a distinguished career with that famous club.
He was club champion in 1963 and in 1974, the year he became its youngest Captain since the late Duke of Windsor. He played for Surrey from 1970 to 1976, served three years as county captain from 1974 and was its President from 1986 to ’88. He still serves on the Surrey Executive after joining in 1966.
Bill’s involvement with the Royal and Ancient Club began in 1974 and he has twice served on its Rules of Golf Committee, from 1976 to ’80 and from ’84 to ’88. He was its Chairman from 1985 to ’88. The introduction of the Golf Development Committee brought Bill more recognition as he served that body from 1981 to ’84, taking over as Chairman in 1982.
After that it was the Rules Sub Committee of the R&A’s Championship Committee from 1992 to ’95. During that spell, Bill was also a member of the Implements and Ball Committee from 1994 to ’98 and was its Chairman from 1995.
He has also been active as a referee, officiating in 10 Open Championships, three US Masters, one Ryder Cup and two Walker Cups as well as the St Andrews and Jacques Leglise Trophies. He has also visited the United States on many occasions representing the R&A as well as Japan with his work on the Implements and Ball Committee.
Surrey has also been well served by Bill. He has represented the county on the EGU Council since 1977 and the South East Group on the EGU Executive Committee on a number of occasions. He represented the EGU on the European Golf Association Council from 1989 to ’93 and was a member of the EGA’s Championship Committee from 1990 to ’94.
The EGU’s Championship Committee has also benefited from Bill’s expertise, having served since 1990 and been its Chairman since 1997. But he will step down in February. He has also found time to serve as Chairman of the EGU’s National Coaching Committee since it was set up three years ago.
In his playing days, Bill got down to one handicap but one honour that has eluded him is the Surrey County Championship. He reached the semi-finals in 1974 but gave up competitive play two years later. He did, however, finish third in the South East Group Seniors in 1995. That one-handicap is a thing of the past and Bill now plays off nine. “I don’t play a lot these days and I’m desperate not to go into double figures,” he says.
Bill, who has been married to Patricia since 1998, will not be the EGU’s first Scottish President. George Logan, who held office in 1987, is a Scot and there may have been others down the years.