13th October 2016
Rodney Foster is one of England’s and for that matter Great Britain’s best ever amateur golfers. After years of international representation this career amateur became a much respected and well liked ambassador for the game of golf.
As Rodney is 75 today I thought I would produce ‘an everything you need to know ‘list to record his more notable achievements in the amateur game.
1. He was born in Shipley on 13th October 1941. A lifelong Yorkshireman he was educated at Bradford Grammar School, before embarking on a career in insurance locally and living in the area to this day. He plays most of his golf at Ilkley nowadays.
2. His mother and father were both members of The Bradford Golf Club, his father being Captain in 1956. It was therefore inevitable that Rodney and his brother George would take up the game and quickly become proficient at it – both became scratch players, representing The Bradford club during their careers. It was at Bradford that Rodney developed his very upright swing for which he was known.
3. He won the Yorkshire Amateur Championship five times, in 1963, ’64, ’65, ’67 and ’70. Locally he is also known for his dominance of the Bradford Open, which he won a record 10 times between 1960 and 1982.
Rodney Foster competing in 1966 (Photo: Getty Images / Ed Lacey)
4. He was capped for both England Boys (1958) and Youths (1959).
5. Rodney became a full Men’s International in 1963 and played for England annually in the Home Internationals between 1963 and 1971 (save for 1965). His elite playing career coming to end slightly prematurely in 1973 after he had a serious accident.
6. Rodney represented England in the European Amateur Team Championship in 1963, ’65, ’67, ’69, ’71 and ’73. England won this event three times with him in their team, in 1963, ’69 and ’71.
7. He won many other major amateur titles, most notably the Berkshire Trophy (1964) and the Lytham Trophy (1967 and 1968).
8. In 1964, probably his best playing year, he lost the final of the English Amateur Championship to Dr. David Marsh by 1 hole at Hollinwell.
9. He reached the semi-finals of The Amateur Championship in both 1962 (Hoylake) and 1965 (Porthcawl), losing firstly to Richard Davies from the USA by 3&2 and then to Michael Bonallack by 1 hole on his way to the title. He played in 20 Amateurs between 1962-82, winning 37 and losing 20 of his 57 matches.
10. He tied with Michael Bonallack for the English Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship (Brabazon Trophy) in 1969 at Walton Heath (no play-off in those days) before successfully defending the title in 1970 at Little Aston.
11. He was a member of the winning GB&I Eisenhower Trophy team in 1964. He played with Michael Bonallack, Michael Lunt and Ronnie Shade in Olgiata, near Rome. He also represented Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) in 1970 in this competition.
12. He played in five consecutive Walker Cup‘s for GB&I, 1965, ’67, ’69, ’71 and ’73. However, as was the case with most golfers of this era, his playing record was disappointing – he played 17 games winning 2, losing 13 and halving 2.
13. He also represented Great Britain in the St. Andrews Trophy match against Europe in 1964, ’66, ’68 and ’70. GB won all four of these matches.
14. He was non-playing captain of England in 1976, ’77 and ’78, England winning the Home Internationals’ Raymond Trophy in his last two years. He went on to become captain of the GB&I Walker Cup team in 1979 (Muirfield) and 1981 (Cypress Point). Both matches were lost, the former 8.5-15.5 and the latter 15.5-9. In the middle year, 1980, he captained the St. Andrews Trophy Team which won at Royal St. George’s 19.5-10.5.
15. Rodney also played for Great Britain in 1967 (Canada) and 1971 (New Zealand) in the now defunct Commonwealth Tournament, competing against teams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
16. He set many course records during his career including those at The Bradford (66), Leeds (64), Prestbury (66) and Troon 70.
17. He has honorary membership of many Yorkshire clubs in recognition of his service to the county and international playing achievements. These include The Bradford, East Bierley, Halifax, Ilkley, Keighley, Shipley, West Bowling and Woodsome Hall.
18. Finally, as one would expect he is also a member of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.