Gloag’s golf: a past Master

Scots Law News has never thought that news need be new in the sense of being only about current or very recent events.  We are therefore delighted to publish this 1907 information as provided by our golf correspondent Professor David Carey Miller of Aberdeen.

"The exceptional contribution of Professor W M Gloag will be remembered again when the 13th edition of Gloag and Henderson is published. But how many know that Gloag was a keen and accomplished golfer? The late Alan Rodger’s finely crafted entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (A F Rodger, ‘Gloag, William Murray (1865-1934)’ ODNB, 2004, online edn 2007 [, accessed 21 Feb 2012] ) does not neglect the jurist’s golf.

The ODNB piece tells of a hole in one by Gloag in 1907. As Aberdeen Secretary of the Glasgow/Aberdeen University Senate Golf Match Society, this writer can add that the hole in one was achieved by Gloag in his first appearance for the Glasgow team two years after his appointment as Regius Professor of Law. The minute of the match, played at Glasgow Gailes on 23rd February 1907, records that “Prof Gloag in his match with Prof Thomson holed the             in one”. The blank left by my predecessor Aberdeen Secretary was not filled in and we will never know at which of the Gailes short holes Gloag holed out!

Gloag played in the Senate Match fourteen times – seven being away matches at Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie) – between 1907 and 1929. Given that over the years of the Great War the match was suspended, this represented pretty regular appearance. Alan Rodger, in his ODNB entry, noted that “Gloag had a deformity of the right arm”; this is indeed apparent in some of the team photographs which are part of the Senate Match archive. The disability seems not to have affected Gloag’s golf because his record against Aberdeen is very good. On the few occasions that he lost it was almost always by a small margin; one exception was his last match at Balgownie in 1929 when Aberdeen’s Professor Blackadder triumphed by 9 holes – 5 and 4 in modern scoring.

Finally, it may be noted that Gloag’s hole in one in the 11th Senate Match has not  been repeated but hope springs eternal with the 103rd encounter to be played at the Glasgow Golf Club in June 2012."