David Hamilton was born in December 1938. He joined the Association of Golf Writers in 1986. He proudly served as the Association’s golf captain and worked closely for many years with Bob Davies in helping organise the AGWs annual dinner during Open Championship week. David was afforded ‘Life Membership’ of the Association in 2008. He passed away on Monday 18th October, 2021.
His golf reporting career included working tirelessly to champion amateur golf and report on England Golf’s championships between 2001 and his retirement soon after the merger of the English Golf Union and English Women’s Golf Association in 2012.
During a long and successful career in journalism David also worked for publications such as Golf Weekly and Golf Illustrated. A member also of the Press Golfing Society, he served as its secretary from 1986-90 and captain in 1992, and won a number of its trophies over the years.
AGW MEMBER TRIBUTES
It was with great sadness that I learned of Dave’s passing. That he had been reticent about his illness was typical of a quiet, dignified man. Dave and I first met in 1987 when I was taken on as his deputy at Golf Illustrated, the world’s oldest golf magazine. He was immensely proud to take up the reins at Sevenoaks from Bill Robertson, joining a line of iconic editors. Little did he know then he would be the last in the line.
Dave and I had a couple of things in common apart from a love of golf. He had served in the Royal Navy in ciphering, something I too, had worked on in the RN. Like me, he was also a keen football fan. Life at Golf Illustrated for his two years in charge, was no bed of roses. The magazine was soon on its uppers and we did most things on a shoe-string. You would never know that, though, from the editions he oversaw superbly, drawing admiration from not only readers but competitors too. He worked tremendously hard. I remember after the weather disrupted 1988 Open – won by Seve on the Monday – high-tailing it with copy and Phil Sheldon’s transparencies down to the West Country where temporary production had been set up. Dave had driven from Lytham the day before to produce the coming week’s magazine. Even though he’d already had little sleep, he was up all night, putting GI to bed.
Eventually, Golf World, under the auspices of the New York Times, took over GI and it was a sad day when our office looking out on The Vine cricket ground and famous oaks (reduced to one after the great storm), closed down and some of us moved to the Isle of Dogs. GI was relaunched as Golf Weekly with a tiny ‘Illustrated’ strapline, edited by Neil Elsey. The illustrious magazine’s identity was lost though, and gradually it was phased out. Dave wasn’t even its deputy editor. It must have been hard to take. He was subsequently the only one remaining from GI and he left too, to become the press officer for the English Golf Union.
For the AGW, he will be forever appreciated for his great efforts with Bob Davies, ensuring our annual dinner ran smoothly and was always a night to remember.
Bob Davies (Past AGW Treasurer)
To those who worked closely with him – as I did over the years we sorted out the annual dinner together – Dave Hamilton came across as a bit grumpy. But deep down he was a big softy, devoted to the Association of Golf Writers and extremely proud of being a life member. That was an honour bestowed upon him by the members in 2008 in recognition of his dedicated work on their behalf.
Recalling our time at successive Open Championships working on the arrangements for the dinner I think Dave, far from being a bit short tempered, was more frustrated at the magnitude of the task but always ensuring everyone had a seat at what is undoubtedly the social highlight of the Association’s year.
Dave, sadly, passed away at the age of 83 after a courageous fight against prostate cancer and pneumonia. His passing came as a shock as the day he died he was expected to be discharged from hospital and a special hospital-type bed was delivered to his Essex home in Tiptree, famous as the home of a jam making factory which Dave didn’t always approve of!
Dave was a bachelor and spent many years caring for his mother, who died in her 90s. Whenever he was at a tournament, or away from home for any reason, Dave always found time to ring his mother at least twice a day to ensure she was okay.
As a youngster he was a keen amateur footballer and a lifelong supporter of West Ham United. After doing his National Service in the Royal Navy, he went on to work for what was then Golf Weekly. It’s title later became Golf Illustrated and Dave was appointed editor.
He was also a very enthusiastic member of the Press Golf Society, which was formed in 1904 and is thought to be the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. Dave served as secretary from 1986 to 1990 and his name is also engraved on many of the Society’s trophies.
As a member of the AGW he also held ithe position of golf captain for some years.
Our secretary Bernie Maguire has approached the Press Golfing Society and it would be a touching tribute to Dave if they and the AGW could join forces to provide something to remember him well.
This is such sad news. David was a wonderful man who loved the game of golf. He was highly respected for his integrity and enthusiasm and he was a terrific golfing partner. David adored playing golf as he did writing about the sport and the AGW has lost another loyal and passionate member.
Martin Dempster (AGW Chairman)
That is indeed more sad news. I always had a lot of time for Dave. He was a brilliant press officer for England Golf.
Andy Farrell (Past AGW Secretary)
Weekly magazines are such good training. You have to do everything — writing, subbing, compiling scores, picture editing, headlining, proofing, on reports, news, features, columns — on an ever repeating cycle, all different the next week, what a helter-skelter. Dave Hamilton could do it all. There wasn’t anything about golf magazines he didn’t know — anyone he didn’t know. When I arrived on Golf Weekly he was the link back to the Golf Illustrated days. His generosity in time and patience in helping show newcomers the ropes was something I benefitted from and was always grateful for. Monday was press day, long and intense. Tuesdays were more leisurely, short day, long lunch, a chance to take a breather, have a natter.
Dave always had good tales to tell, but was more than happy listening to those of others, prompting more details with an enthusiastic cry of “Go aurn!” There were two scenarios where Dave could become somewhat less than gruntled. One was when his golf was sub-optimal, his swing not quite finding its usual smooth tempo, occasionally mislaid but never lost. The second was when members had not quite managed to actually pay for their dinner tickets.
Dave served the Association as both Captain of Golf and Dinner Secretary, both thankless tasks but vital to our esprit de corps. He was delighted to be awarded life membership alongside Bob Davies.A man of Essex, the “mayor of Tiptree”, as he was affectionately known. For years he devotedly cared for his elderly mother, later being blessed by meeting the delightful Cathy, who joined us on the annual trips to Brancaster. Another great blow in a year of them. But we must go on …
Michael McDonnell (Past AGW Chairman)
Dave, as we always knew him, was the most able and dependable colleague and friend. He was the complete professional as Editor of Golf Illustrated magazine and later as joint organiser of the AGW Open Championship dinner. In short, he was one of the last of an honorable and respected breed.
I only met Renton briefly when he gave me a most warm and sincere welcome to the AGW back when he was secretary. I was so impressed with his style and warmth.
My condolences to his family and love ones
I was particularly shocked by David Hamilton’s passing as he became a friend and was planning to travel up to Bury St Edmunds to spend the day with Shirley and me.
We swapped Xmas cards every year.
We had similar early journalistic backgrounds each working sport subbing shifts in London, he with the Sun and I with the Mirror. We often compared notes.
He also gave me work when he was with Golf Illlustrated for which I was extremely grateful. Sleep well David.
Dave often had the look of being Mr. Grumpy. Those that knew him knew that was far from the truth.He was great company, particularly during the 20-plus years I spent in his company playing in The Pat-Ward Thomas Trophy in Brancaster. Those November weekends were a joy. Great company, loads of laughs and friendships forged.Dave was a great partner and never moaned – to me that is – when yet another of my shots soared anyway but the course. Then Cathy arrived and his life changed again and Dave, believe it or not, laughed even more.Cathy was our official photographer and her snaps in Norfolk added more cherished memories. A great bloke. A fellow footie fan. And a pal. I will miss him. Very much. Tony Stenson – Life Member.
Donald Steel (Past AGW President and Treasurer)
My chief memory of David was his exemplary organisation of the Annual Dinner at the Open. He turned it in to something really big, something members and guests wouldn’t willingly miss.
It’s hard to know what to say, where to start really, with someone you’ve known for so long. If I’m being honest, I’m still so sad that it’s hard to write something uplifting and cheery. I knew that Dave was ill and that he’d decided that he didn’t want it widely known; he was a very private man in many ways despite his gregarious side and he could be combative, so you took him on at your own risk – especially on the golf course. He cut himself no slack on the course, where a bad shot or a ghastly lie were unlikely to be met with any pretence at equanimity. It’s fair to say that the Hamilton golfing philosophy did not include phrases like ‘que sera sera’, ‘it’s only a game’ or ‘there’s always tomorrow’. That probably got worse as he got older and he found, like most of us, that his game was sliding further and further from its prime. You learned that you couldn’t jolly him out of the slough of despond; he’d emerge in his own good time and then there’d be laughter and great tales – he was a man of golf par excellence and, don’t forget, he and Bob Davies organised the AGW dinner for umpteen-ump years; it was probably the lawyers who stopped them writing the book…! Condolences to Cathy, who’s not a golfer but learned to tolerate us all and made Dave so happy in their years together.
Terribly sad news about Dave Hamilton – one of my closest friends. He invented the word ‘staunch’, a superb individual!
I was immensely saddened by the deaths of both Renton and Dave. While I cannot recall any specific events involving either of them – my memory is not what it used to be – I held both in great affection after knowing them for so many years. They were both extremely kind gentlemen and the association is poorer for their loss. Many a kind word has been written by association members since the two passed away, and I can only say I agree with all the fine words amd remininscences that have been uttered. Renton and Dave were both stalwarts, in their different ways, of the association. It is a big and extremely sad loss to lose them both within such a short period of time.
GOLFING BODY TRIBUTES
David Hamilton, former press officer with the English Golf Union and latterly England Golf, has sadly passed away at his home in Essex. He was 83.
David worked tirelessly to champion amateur golf and report on our championships between 2001 and his retirement soon after the merger of the English Golf Union and English Women’s Golf Association in 2012.
During a successful career in journalism David also worked for publications such as Golf Weekly and Golf Illustrated and was a member of both the Press Golfing Society and the Association of Golf Writers where he acted as golf captain for many years.
England Golf’s director of championships, James Crampton, has paid tribute to the man and his work.
“It’s very sad to hear of Dave’s passing,” said James.
“When I started with England Golf in 2001, Dave, as press officer, was an important member of the small team working on championships. He was a great guy to be around.
“He helped promote the amateur game in England through his reporting of our championships and made many friends along the way.
“His rapport with the players – many of whom went on to bigger things in the professional ranks – came through in his writing which brought the amateur game to life for so many readers around the country.
“We shared many a laugh at events over the years and I will remember him fondly.
“My thoughts, and those of everyone at England Golf, are with his family and friends at this time.”
SOCIAL MEDIA TRIBUTES
DAVID HAMILTON .. Sadly @AGWgolfwriters mourns his passing (Oct’ 18). David joined the AGW in 1986 and proudly served as AGW Golf Captain & would give his time unselfishly for many years in helping arrange the AGWs annual dinner RIP in David
Indeed Alistair. I remember Dave very early on in my career when he wrote very stylishly for the Brentwood paper covering Billericay Town and other local teams as I did for the Evening Echo. I also caught up with him at various golfing venues. Lovely man. RIP
Sad news indeed Alistair. He was England Golf’s press officer when I was editor of English Club Golfer and he also covered the South East. His output was prolific and copy was always spot on. Another good guy taken from us
Replying to @AGWgolfwriters Another top bloke taken from us. First met Dave through @AGWgolfwriters Home Internationals and he did a fantastic job as @EnglandGolf press officer/South East correspondent when I was involved in launch of the English Club Golfer. RIP
Sad to hear this news…he was a lovely guy