Texas-based Lee Rhind aims to raise $10,000 for Uphall clubhouse rebuild
Texas-based Lee Rhind is trying to raise $10,000 to help his beloved Uphall Golf Club rise from the ashes of the fire that destroyed its clubhouse earlier this year.
Rhind cut his golfing teeth at the West Lothian club and was flying the Uphall flag in national events along with fellow amateur Colin Swanston and club pro Gordon Law when he won the 1997 Scottish Boys’ Stroke-Play Championship at Downfield.
He has lived in Texas for around 20 years, spending the last 13 years working at Midland Country Club, where is currently the director of instruction, but his golfing heart will always be at Uphall.
It came as a real shock, therefore, when news of the huge clubhouse blaze in mid-February filtered through to him nearly 5,000 miles from home.
“I woke that morning to a bunch of messages and images of the fire from friends and family,” said Rhind. “I was just in shock to start with, but the more I thought about the damage and all the memorabilia being lost from the club’s history, it just got me really thinking about how much the club and members helped and encouraged me growing up.
“As a youngster playing at Uphall, we had a group of us all about the same age that really pushed everyone to get better from the age of 12.
“I remember having a group of members come watch the Scottish Boys’ final at Dunbar in 1997. Unfortunately, I lost (to Kirkcaldy’s Mark Donaldson by one hole), but I made up for it later that summer by winning the stroke play.
“I normally try to catch up with the people from that group I came through the ranks with when I visit home and I actually had a round of golf and pint at Uphall last year before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.”
In a bid to try and help the club from afar, Rhind has set up a gofundme page, having raised $2,800 so far towards a goal of $10,000.
“I have set it up to just see what I can do,” he added. “I know a lot of people have enjoyed spending time at Uphall over the years, either golf or just socialising, so any money I can raise, I know the club will put to good use for the future.”
Rhind, who has picked up a couple of North Texas PGA awards in recent years, played in the 2013 US PGA Championship at Oak Hill and still keeps himself competitive.
“I still love playing,” he said. “My goal is to try and make it back to the PGA Championship, but I think I may need to practice a bit harder than I currently do.”
Like PGA Tour players Martin Laird and Russell Knox, Rhind loves life in the US and doesn’t see himself returning home on a permanent basis.
“You never know in life, but it is definitely not in the plans,” he said. “I enjoy it here - Midland Country Club is a great club and I am very happy and fortunate to work there - and my family are happy.
“But we do enjoy visiting Scotland and will need to get over to see the new clubhouse at Uphall once it has been built.”