Keith Mackie – Proud AGW Member 1963 – 2019
It is sad to report the passing of our friend and colleague, Keith Mackie.
Keith was born in 1938 and joined the AGW in 1963 to be among the AGWs longest-standing members when he passed away on Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 and aged 81.
Keith was born into a golfing family in St. Andrews and was the son of a golfing professional. He was a former editor of ‘Golf World’ and the author of a number of golf-related books. Among those being Golf At St. Andrew’s, Play Better Golf With Hale Irwin and Art And Architecture Of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club At St. Andrew’s.
A number of AGW members attended the funeral held on Thursday, 14th February in the Old Trinity Church in St. Andrews and where OId Tom Morris’ funeral service had been conducted in 1908.
Hereunder is tributes to Keith from a number of his long-time AGW members and friends.
DONALD STEELE – AGW PRESIDENT (1993-98); AGW TREASURER (1977-90)
Keith was an excellent editor and writer, reliable, innovative and interesting. I saw all too little of him in recent years but I envied him his St Andrews roots. The perfect golfing pedigree.
MICHAEL MCDONNELL – AGW CHAIRMAN (1978-82 & 1992-85)
Keith enjoyed the trust and respect of the great players of his day and even some from earlier eras. He once interviewed the legendary Scottish professional Tommy Armour who was a major force on both sides of the Atlantic as a major champion, a teacher and golf equipment designer.
Yet for all his achievements he told Keith: “I would rather be remembered as a nice fellow than a good golfer.” More evidence of the high regard in which Keith was held came at the 1963 Open at Lytham when he was assigned to record a hole-by-hole account of the eventual winner Bob Charles but discovered details of an earlier round were missing. He asked a favour and even though the New Zealander faced a 36-hole play-off the next day. he said:” Come round to the hotel right now and we’ll go through it. “
Those were the days and a measure also of the regard in which Keith was held.
RENTON LAIDLAW – AGW PRESIDENT (2004-15); AGW CHAIRMAN (1995-98); AGW SECRETARY (1978-95)
Keith and I had several things in common. We both lived in St Andrews, both worked on occasion for the Rand A and both were elected to membership of the Association in 1963. He will always be remembered as a true professional either when editor of Golf World or in any other journalistic work in which he was involved.
For a time until his retirement he worked closely with the R and A at each Open and was a stalwart contributor to the R and A Golfer’s Handbook writing in-depth pieces about each of the year’s venues sometimes twice but no worries there. He always had a different angle each time about the course and club he was writing about – so typical of a journalist who took each commission very seriously.
I enjoyed working with him because his copy, always delivered on time, never needed any editing, It was never less than beautifully written to the exact length required and it was always highly readable Yet throughout his career he remained modest about his achievements in his chosen profession working away diligently and quietly in “old school” style.
Son of a golf professional the game was in his blood and that shone through in all his workIt was my regret that I saw less of this gentleman of golf writing when our careers went different ways but I shall always remember him as a quiet and unassuming master of his craft.
BILL ELLIOTT – AGW Chairman (2010-13)
Very sad to hear of Keith Mackie’s passing. But what a life well lived and in a place he loved and enhanced with his words over many years. I could never hear mention of Keith’s name without immediately thinking ‘St Andrews’. In that sense he was the Tom Morris of golf journalism.
I suppose he had little choice but to become a golfwriter given his family background and having been born in this magical place. His books embroider my own golf library although I’ve always felt that his ‘Play Better Golf With Hale Irwin’ would have sold more if it had been retitled ‘Play Better Golf With Keith Mackie’.
What I know for certain is that he was as modest as he was knowledgeable and always ready to help any rookie golf writer such as myself when I first appeared on the St Andrews scene many years ago.
My condolences to his family. May he rest now in peace. Bill Elliott, AGW Chairman 2010-13
JOCK MACVICAR – AGW PRESIDENT (2018 – present)
I am so sorry to hear that Keith Mackie has passed away.
He was steeped in golf, a magazine editor and author of several books on the game he loved.
It was always a great pleasure to meet him in St Andrews. As well as a great supporter of the sport, he also was a real gentleman.
Maybe from a different generation, but, most certainly, none the worse for that.
Very sorry to hear about the death of Keith Mackie. I worked with him the year I worked on the Open Golf Website, probably in 2001. He was a very nice and amenable gentleman, a pleasure to work with.
So sorry RIP our friend