Long-serving Brian’s name will always be to the fore

Brian Clee has pitched in at Dudley Golf Club over the years and now he has a lasting reminder of his unstinting efforts.

Dudley Golf Club are renaming the golf club lounge after their longest-serving member Brian Clee, who will help cut the ribbon.
Dudley Golf Club are renaming the golf club lounge after their longest-serving member Brian Clee, who will help cut the ribbon.

The 83-year-old's name has pride of place at the Turner's Hill venue after the club named its function room in his honour.

Clee has trod the fairways at Dudley for 56 years and has played a huge role in keeping the club afloat during some testing times.

He managed the club for two-and-half years during which he helped bring in 114 new members and 33 golf societies, and has served as a committee member and treasurer.

The honour came as a complete surprise to Clee who, while immensely proud, is keen to shun the spotlight and highlight the work of others in helping turn the club's fortunes around.

"It's a tremendous honour and I was a bit embarrassed by it, really," said Clee. "I couldn't understand why they had done it.

"There are some very good people at the club and there are a lot of other people who have helped. I did what I did willingly and I had the time to do it. It's not about me.

"But I am now getting more used to the idea because it has triggered my memories.

"I was secretary for 10 years on and off and I was on the committee for 14 years. I helped out in the pro shop and I was on the house committee, I have had a lot of enjoyment at the club."

And while the club's future now looks bright with membership and green fees increasing, Clee can remember the tough times.

"We have struggled in the past," he said. "When I took on the secretary's job in 2006 we were in a bad way financially.

"We were able to sell some land adjacent to the club to some ex-members of ours and that got us out of debt with the bank.

"All I did was help keep the club going to a point where we could get that land sold.

"If I commit to anything, I always participate and help out rather than just be a passenger. That's my nature and inclination.

"But this should be about the revival of the club and I want to thank the committee for the excellent work that they have done.

"We have an excellent secretary and treasurer and they have revolutionised the place.

"The club is financially stable, it's taken on more members and have more and more green fee payers because they have closed Brandhall.

"It has a good future and it's a welcoming club.

"It has gone from a shanty town to a club that members and visitors can be proud of."

Clee still plays a couple of times a week in the senior section and has no plans to put his clubs away anytime soon.

"I wouldn't say I play golf how I used to play golf, but I go around with my friends in the fresh air," he said.

"I have played at Dudley for 56 years. I had a break for a while in the 1980s because I put three discs out in my upper neck playing at Royal St David's in Wales.

"My handicap is back to 25 now, the best I ever got down to was 12 and that was when I did my neck in and had to have a break.

"I did every sport known, really, which is why I have got bad knees and a bad back.

"I had to pack up football because of my knees, so I took up tennis. Then I found the twisting in that wasn't doing me any good so I was looking around for a sport that I could play into my old age because I have always been active.

"I wanted to play a sport I could play for the rest of my life.

"To play a sport that could play on your own, which you can, and to play a sport that has got a good social side to it, which it has.

"Golf fitted the bill. So I took up pitch and put with the lads from work at Bantock Park in Wolverhampton.

"And it just progressed from there. I actually started with a half set of hickory-shafted clubs in 1964, that's how much I knew about it!"

Club captain Shaun Messer said the decision to honour Clee was an easy one.

"Brian has stuck with the club through thick and thin," said Messer.

"When the club was struggling he would come up with different ideas to boost membership and bring money in.

"The club has a bright future and is doing well now and Brian has played a big part in that.

"When the idea was mentioned about naming the function room in his honour, the committee were unanimous in agreeing.

"Brian was a bit emotional when we told him, but he deserves credit for all he has done for the club over the years.

"Every club needs a Brian Clee."

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News