THE secretary of a popular East Lothian golf club is retiring from the fairways this month after 13 years in the hotseat.
Paul Casely joined Kilspindie Golf Club’s management committee following an unfortunate turn of events in 1998. He had originally offered his services as a short-term book-keeper but when the club secretary fell seriously ill Mr Casely took the reins, with the position being made official in March 1999.
“I was welcomed by a huge pile of paperwork, with no hand over, so the start was not easy. In fact, you might say, if I had been given a job description I may never have taken the job!” he said.
The Aberlady resident has overseen many changes at the club but has recently been praised for bucking the current economic downturn, with the club likely to record their most successful year ever.
“We have redeveloped almost everything,” Mr Casely said. “The club house has been completely re-decorated both inside and out, the entrance road has been re-surfaced – as has the car park – we have a new and up-graded irrigation system. And we’re about to embark on an extensive upgrade to our greenkeeper facilities.”
And he added: “Thirteen years ago the club did not own any of their equipment, today we own everything outright, thus safeguarding the club’s future for years to come.
“We have achieved all this and have not had to go to the members once for fundraising, which really proves the club is a shining light in these tough economic times.”
Mr Casely, a former stockbroker and international banker, worked overseas with Barclays for 21 years, with stints in the West Indies, the Pacific, Africa, Seychelles, and Hong Kong, among others.
When the bottom fell out of the banking market in 1990, he found himself back in the UK and sought a career change, going to work with an Edinburgh wine merchant.
The pensioner, who was reluctant to reveal his age, officially hands over his club position to John Leslie, former secretary at the Merchants of Edinburgh Golf Club, at the beginning of November.
He said: “I am now handing over the baton. It has been a lot of hard work, but I would not change a thing.
“I have had 13 successful years at Kilspindie, and this is mainly down to the staff – office, bar and greens – for without their cooperation and teamwork it would have been impossible to achieve, and the members who have given their time freely to ensure the club thrives.”
Mr Casey, a father-of-two, has not had an official handicap since 1999. When he leaves Kilspindie he will not be a member of another club, which he says will allow him to roam.