Richard Palmer, former Chairman of the Championship Committee, has been installed as President of The English Golf Union at its Annual General Meeting at Woodhall Spa. He succeeds course designer and former Sunday Telegraph golf writer, Donald Steel, and returns to the sharp end of EGU life after a year away. He spent the previous five years as Chairman of the Championship Committee overseeing all the EGU’s on-course activity.
It is partly because of this work that Palmer regards etiquette and the spirit of the game to be key elements of his year at the helm. “I have not come into office with a theme in mind but those who know me know how strongly I feel about these facets of this great game,” he says. “When we updated the rule book a few years ago I was involved as one of the chairmen of the R&A’s Etiquette Sub-Committee and we rewrote the etiquette section. Golf is unlike many sports in that it relies for the most part on integrity with little supervision.
“Players rule themselves in a disciplined manner with courtesy and sportsmanship. This is what we call the spirit of the game and is something I hold dear. I will expect to see a lot of it this year.”
His nomadic life as a banker meant he has been a member of several clubs such as Bristol & Clifton, Shanklin & Sandown, and Knole Park. But it was when he joined Royal Ashdown Forest in Sussex in 1968 that he really got bitten by the golfing bug. It was also the start of life in golf administration as he was elected to the club’s committee almost immediately and became their youngest captain in 1977-78.
He served on the Sussex County Committee in the mid-1970s then became their representative on the EGU for 30 years. He was Sussex captain in 1987-89 and president for three years from 1997-99, including their centenary year.
He became a member of the R&A in 1982, served on its Championship Committee from 1992-95 and on its Rules Committee from 1999-2002. He has been a member of the Tournament Panel since 1992 and has refereed in eight Open Championships and a number of European Tour events.
Richard has been a member of the EGU’s Executive for almost 25 years. He is also now involved with the European Golf Association and during last year ran several of its championships on the Continent.
He is the first EGU President from Sussex since Frank Pennink in 1967, who was his proposer for membership of the R&A.
English Golf Union www.englishgolfunion.org