Many Members, along with Visitors, will have sat on the memorial seat by the 10th Tee, either to reflect on a good score or to pass the day discussing the round that was.
It was a sad miss and resting point very much absent from the Club in recent times when the advice from Scottish Golf was to remove all course furniture. Anyone who has played the course in the past week will see the seat back in its appropriate resting point. promoting the fabulous view towards Raasay and North Skye.
The seat is in memory of Eric McGlone placed there by his family. Eric and his wife were both born in Scotland in villages outside of Glasgow. They didn’t actually meet until they ran into each other in London. Eric’s daughter Heather wrote to me, telling me of when she and her husband visited Skye as a favourite holiday destination in the 1980s, and so too did her parents and younger brother. Every year they stayed at then Skeabost Hotel.
There they did a lot of salmon fishing and Eric and his son would also travel to Sconser to play at the Skye Club.
Heather mentioned “Wherever he went in the world with his golf clubs they always had the Isle of Skye Golf Club tag attached to them”.
Eric travelled the world a lot. He worked for a computer company, at the time called Burroughs, travelling from his London home. In the end he moved to Sydney, Australia for a few years and then to the USA before finally coming back to London.
Heather added “Skye was such a love of theirs that when my father died we asked the Funeral Director Donnie Macleod if the club would let us scatter his ashes on the course and we were given permission to do so. It was a really wet day, with torrential rain and my mother kept saying, “Your father would like this, as his ashes will help nourish the fairways”.
Eric’s widow thought it would be nice to have a memorial of some sort at the clubhouse for a man that had spent so many happy hours there. She thought a bench might be nice if players wanted a little break and to admire the view. They located a local carpenter who loved the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and had converted an old schoolhouse in Skye into an amazing home and workshop. His name is evident on the base of the bench on one of the legs. The beautiful bench was hence constructed and every time Heather and her family (and there are several groups of family members) who at different times come to Skye, the first thing they do – after breathing a huge sigh of relief that they are on the island – is to stop at ‘Grandad’s bench’ as the younger members of the family call it, and just breathe in the moment. Heather always takes a moment to reflect on her father. It is the last thing they all do before also leaving the island.
Sadly, Heather’s Mum died two years ago. The Family couldn’t get up to Skye last year due to the Covid restrictions, so it was wonderful for them to get back this summer.
Heather commented, “My father was a very wise and shrewd man. For all the hectic and busy lives we all lead he would always say to me, never forget to take time to stop and smell the flowers. He was so right. Just taking time to sit and pause on Grandad’s bench is inspirational. He was a very clever person, who absolutely loved Skye and loved his golf. I hope some of your Members will take time to stop and smell the flowers too, and watch the bumble bees too”
It’s funny how much history and how many stories there are behind a simple inscription on a bench!.
My thanks to Heather for her contribution to this article and thanks to those who helped restore the seat after the lifting of Covid restrictions.