A feast of golf in 1,000 courses

John Armitt with the salver to mark playing at 1000 different golf courses.
John Armitt with the salver to mark playing at 1000 different golf courses.

A RICH golfing pedigree has been the driving force behind a High Peak man’s passion for the sport.

So much so that earlier this year, John Armitt, from Buxton, celebrated playing his 1,000th different golf course.

John began playing golf as a junior and his first golf subscription in 1945 cost five shilling. That was at Buxton and High Peak Golf Club, where he is a life member.

And during a long and varied golfing career spanning a remarkable eight decades, the 77-year-old has gone on to play courses right around the world.

“It’s a sport that has been in my family as long as I can remember,” explains John. “There was always a set of golf clubs in the corner at home.

“I have played all over the UK, France, the Royal Waterloo in Belgium and across Europe. I have played the Carolinas in America, in Miami and a bit of Canada, plus three holes in Iceland on a course which the Americans built.

“I’ve also played all of the Open championship courses. The most challenging is Carnoustie because of the burn that runs through it. If you can get around Carnoustie without going in it at least three times you have done exceptionally well!”

And he admits his favourite is the uniquely-designed Onyria Palmares in Portugal: “It’s a lovely course. There is a little bit of parkland and then you cross a coastal railway and play five holes links, then it’s back over the railway and parkland and play through olive grows.

“It is not the greatest course in Portugal but it is the most stunning because it has the characteristics of three courses rolled into one.”

There is no doubting golf is in John’s blood as he comes from a rich golfing pedigree. Among them, his great-grandfather, stone-mason Benjamin Green, was a founder member of Buxton and High Peak Golf Club and one of its first employees.

And John’s father, Joe Armitt, was a renowned amateur golfer at county, regional and national level.

John, meanwhile, currently plays off a handicap of 20, however in the late 1990s, after winning the Derbyshire Seniors title and Buxton & High Peak’s President’s prize in quick succession, it fell to an all-time low of ten.

A fan of golfing memorabilia, John has been associated with the British Golf Collectors Society for 20 years, and members are known to regularly play with hickory-shafted clubs while wearing period dress.

Although John admits he still prefers his regular, modern-day clubs: “They go a good deal further - and are a lot more forgiving!”

It was during a meeting of society members at Birstall Golf Club, near Leicester, in August that John played his milestone 1,000th different golf course - a feat for which he was honoured with a commemorative salver.

“It was a humbling and very proud moment,” added John.