It was his ‘dream job’ but, after more than 20 years at the head professional at Blairgowrie Golf Club, Charles Dernie has retired.
His departure from the Perthshire club was marked by a dinner and presentation in the clubhouse, adding to lots of special memories for the 64-year-old.
“Anyone in golf knows what Blairgowrie is all about and in a sense it was my dream job,” said Dernie, who is handing over the reins to Neil Cameron.
“As an assistant to a Scottish champion, Bill Millar, at Fairhaven Golf Club in Lytham, he directed me to a tournament at Rosemount, saying it was the best inland course in Scotland.
“I pre-qualified in the snow at Alyth. I took a huge score at the 14th to miss the cut at Rosemount but I loved the golf course. I remember thinking it would be a nice place to work. That was back in 1977, 20 years before I succeeded Gordon Kinnoch.”
After heading north, his first Head PGA Pro role was at Buchanan Castle before then moving to Banchory and then Blairgowrie.
“There were only two posts I would have left Banchory for – Prestwick or Blairgowrie,” he added. “I believe more than 100 applied for the job here and I got lucky.”
Dernie played on the European Tour before an injury sustained in a car crash steered his golfing career in a different direction.
As a qualified referee, he officiated at two Ryder Cups, including the 2006 clash at The K Club in Ireland, where he was out with Tiger Woods in the singles.
“The R&A rules exam is notoriously difficult, but I have had great fun doing European Tour events, starting with the Dunhill Links Championship,” he said.
“But nothing, even the USPGA, prepares you for the intensity of the Ryder Cup. That’s a different level and, as the first pro to become a referee, I always felt additional pressure.”
Dernie is now looking forward to a pressure-free retiral, admitting: “Looking back, I have enjoyed my job at a club with fabulous facilities and I certainly have no regrets at what was a considered move to come to Blairgowrie. I have enjoyed my working life and Perthshire is home.”
Paying a warm tribute to the club’s departing PGA Pro, Blairgowrie captain Peter Inglis said: “The respect that Charles commands within both the professional and amateur ranks is immense.
“He has been a fine ambassador and his knowledge and insight has been invaluable over the years.”