The traditional driving-in ceremony for the new Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews took place on the 1st tee of the Old Course today.
Clive Brown started his year in office with a drive at precisely 8am as a cannon fired alongside the tee. A large crowd including Past Captains of the Club gathered to watch the ceremony.
As Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Mr Brown will serve in an ambassadorial role for The R&A to support its work in developing golf around the world and will attend its professional and amateur championships.
After hitting his tee shot, Mr Brown said, “I was really nervous so I’m absolutely elated that the ball got in the air and it went a reasonable distance. I had the benefit of Peter Forster’s advice, as well as being on the practice ground this morning to prepare.
“The Captaincy of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is a historic role and it’s an honour and great thrill for me to represent this very special institution both at home and overseas.”
A renowned Welsh international golfer, Mr Brown has enjoyed a long and successful amateur career, including captaining the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team in their victorious 1995 match at Royal Porthcawl and the 1997 match at Quaker Ridge.
The Welsh Amateur champion in 1971, Mr Brown made 65 appearances for his country in the 1970’s in the Home Internationals, the European Team Championship and the Snowdonia Trophy. He represented GB&I at youth level in the EGA Trophy in 1972.
Mr Brown was non-playing captain of the Welsh international team in 33 international matches in the 1980’s and the winning GB&I team in the EGA Trophy in 1990 in Oporto. He led the GB&I team in the St Andrews Trophy and the Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships, both in 1996. He also captained the GB&I Palmer Cup team to its only victory in the match in 2000 and again in 2001.
Born in Llandudno in Wales, Mr Brown was educated at Wesley College, Dublin and John Bright Grammar School, Llandudno. He graduated with a BSc in Economics from University College, Cardiff and began his career as an accountant with Deloitte in Manchester, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1975.
Mr Brown spent seven years as a Lecturer in Accounting at the University of North Wales in Bangor before moving to a role at the TSB Group developing training courses for senior management. In 1992, he became a partner at Dunn and Ellis in Porthmadog. He retired in 2011 and became an associate with the firm.
He became a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1995 and has served on a number of Committees. He was Chairman of the Championship Committee in 2017 and the Open Championships Committee from 2018-19. He has also chaired the Amateur Status Committee since 2019 and served on the General Committee and Membership Committee in recent years.
Mr Brown served as a Rules official at a number of major professional championships and leading amateur championships and was Chief Recorder at The Open from 2011 to 2015.
As well as The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, Mr Brown, who plays to a handicap of 7, is an honorary member at Royal Porthcawl, Royal St Davids, Llandudno Maesdu, Conwy, (Caernarfonshire), Porthmadog and Rhuddlan golf clubs. He is also currently a member of Penmaenmawr Golf Club, the Narwhals, Aberconwy Past Captains and Seniors golf societies.
Aged 70, Mr Brown lives with his wife Christine in Conwy. They have two sons, Graham and Benjamin, who are both keen golfers.
In the past, the Club Captaincy was bestowed on the winner of the annual Challenge for the Silver Club but by the early 19th Century the Captaincy had become an elected office. Part of the tradition is that the new Captain buys his golf ball back from the caddie who retrieves and returns it with a gold sovereign.
Martin O’Brien, who has caddied at the links since 2019, successfully returned the ball to Mr Brown.
“I’ve attended the drive in since 2019 and this is the first time I’ve collected the ball. I felt that he was going to hold the club a little tighter with the cannon going off at the same time, which generally means the ball is going to go left. It was worth the early morning start, but now it’s back to work as normal!”