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Randpark says goodbye to ‘Admiral’ Jock Hawthorne

by | Jun 6, 2022

Scotland-born Jock Hawthorne, one of Randpark’s great characters, left the club this week to permanently return to the United Kingdom.

The still chirpy and still fairly fit 87-year-old, who has always had a keen sense of humour and whose mind is as sharp as ever in spite of his advancing years, played in 25 straight club championships, the most recent being this year’s edition late last month when he was the oldest competitor.

A celebrated former Royal Navy officer, Jock over the years has – in between making the odd birdie – regaled (sometimes at inordinately great length!) fellow golfers here at the club of his exploits sailing the oceans of the world.

“I will always have fond memories of my time in South Africa and Randpark,” said the genial and indeed sometimes fiery Scot before flying out to the UK. “Golf has been a door opener to me and I have been so privileged to play it for so many years. I’ve been, using a South African expression rather than a Scottish one, one lucky oke! You ask me why did I play in 25 club straight championships (the last few years as the oldest competitor)? Well, it’s what you do as a loyal member, isn’t it?”

Jock was a member for many years of the so-called Shakers, the group of older golfers who play every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. He also played with a Saturday group – in which there is plenty of banter and whose devotees refer to him as “The Admiral”, a reference to his Navy days. He was also for a while part of the TATs, also older players who play on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. “In fact,” says fellow Randpark member Richard Parr, who worked with Jock at committee level, “Jock played in pretty much every school at the club at one time or another.”

A stickler for the rules, he would often unnerve fellow golfers by laying down the law. He has always believed the rules of golf are sacred in this great game. “It’s remarkable how few people know the rules. You bend one rule and you might as well bend them all. You throw out one rule and you may as well throw them all out,” he says.

Jock has also always been a kind of “policeman” or “watchdog” about the goings-on at the club. If he felt something was amiss about the course, or the running of affairs, or whatever, he would be the first to knock on the general manager’s door in a no-holds-back determination to put things right. He remembers a time when he had a nose-to-nose confrontation with the club’s then iconic general manager, Jimmy Metcalfe. “We argued about something, but he saw my point of view – the Navy taught me to stand my ground, behave in a certain way and stand up for what is right – and after that, we became great friends.”

Talking about his long career as a distinguished seaman, Jock was accepted by the Royal Navy as a boy apprentice aged just 15 and a half years old in 1950. The apprenticeship, which qualified him as an electrical engineer and fully qualified seaman, lasted six years and Jock says those years greatly moulded and matured him as a person. After that humble beginning as a young teenager, Jock would ultimately retire – as Lieutenant Hawthorne – from the Navy in 1973. He then joined the Merchant Navy, now in a role of driving rather than mending anti-submarine and minesweeper ships, and was on The Bridge – for instance – navigating ships right across the Pacific and Atlantic.

In 1980, tragically, Jock and his wife Grace lost their 19-year-old daughter Karen to leukaemia. “That sad time brought my wife and me closer together than ever before,” he recalls. “We were at a loss as to what to do and when I got a job offer in South Africa we decided to emigrate.”

Jock worked in various different companies after moving to South Africa, before “going on his own” in 1986. Golfing-wise, he was a member at both Kyalami and CMR before joining Randpark. He says his golfing heroes have always been Bobby Locke and Sam Snead, not only for their par-busting heroics but also their charisma and one Thursday, after a midweek competition at Kyalami, Jock was gob-smacked when the great Bobby came and sat down right next to him in the pub. “Locke was like a golfing god to me – I loved the man – and I told him as much. He would have nothing of this praise from me though and we had a lovely chat which I will always treasure.”

When he and Grace learnt about a house for sale in Bobby Locke Road in the Randpark suburb, Jock jumped at the opportunity. “I mean, what more apt road to live in than Bobby Locke Road!” he exclaimed. And that’s where the couple resided before ultimately moving into a retirement village where Grace passed away a few years ago.

So is Jock returning to the UK to spend his twilight years nostalgically savouring the famous old links of the land of his birth? Well, not entirely. He has linked up with the widow of an old friend of his in England and he’s keen to enjoy some time with her. So does romance beckon? The Admiral’s keen to find out!

Before leaving for the UK, Jock spent the last few days ahead of his departure staying with and enjoying the company of his countryman and Randpark member, fellow golf addict Dave Blain and Dave’s wife Fay. These Scots, they stick together! And on Tuesday morning just before flying out, his golfing buddies honoured him with a banter-filled going away little ceremony. Cheers Admiral!

Written by Randpark Club member Grant Winter.


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1. The Club reserves the right to impose a cancellation fee of up to R250 for any tee-times booked in peak times (as determined by the club) which are cancelled within 24 hours regardless of whether that actual member made the booking and /or cancellation.

2. The Club reserves the right to impose a no show fee of up to R500 for any tee-times booked in peak times (as determined by the club) where the member failed to show up regardless of whether that actual member made the booking and /or cancellation.

3. Golf specific disclaimer: When entering the Club’s premises, the member is fully aware and understands the risk and hazards inherent to the golf environment which includes but is not limited to the risk of being struck by flying golf balls and lightning strikes. In the case of the latter the member further acknowledges that the shelters provided on the golf course are rain shelters only and are not lightning proof and the club accepts no responsibility in respect of death or injury of persons or destruction or damage to property as a result of any lightning strike whether it occurs at or near a rain shelter or at any other place. All persons using any such rain shelters or any other shelter on the property do so entirely at their own risk. It is to be noted that whilst the Club makes use of an automated lightning detection system, the Club makes no warranties and accepts no responsibility with respect to either the reliability of accuracy of the equipment, or with respect to the It is further noted that a member always has the right to stop play if he/she deems any condition, including lightning, to be a danger to his or her personal safety.

4. A member is not entitled to a refund of golf fees in the event a competition or round is cancelled due to weather.

5. The notional base number of rounds for a CLUB10 and CLUB20 playing cards is 10 & 20 respectively regardless of any reference to an unlimited playing card. When these golf round thresholds have been completed the cost of the playing cards has been consumed. The rounds cannot be carried over to the following financial year, and thus lapse on 31 March.

6. Unlimited golf is subject to booking restrictions as per the specific membership category. The rounds cannot be carried over to the following financial year, and thus lapse on 31 March.

7. Graduates may book for a Sunday PM two weeks in advance via the booking ladies and 11 days in advance on the online platform. Bookings for the weekend will open on a Thursday (2 days before) at 06:00am. We will introduce a graduate booking sheet which will allow graduates to add their names for a slot which the booking ladies will fill closer to the weekend. Saturday morning games will be charged at R350.00 – all other periods include the Unlimited ticket.

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1. Upon the club receiving this application form, signed terms and conditions, letter of good standing from previous club and credit check approval, an invoice will be sent and membership will only become active upon full upfront payment of all applicable fees and/or signature of a debit order arrangement and payment of first instalment. If a debit order arrangement is signed, the first instalment of membership is payable via EFT, there after the debit order arrangement will take effect.

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3. Family Membership is subject to membership of principal member.

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6. The Club reserves the right to impose a 10% cancellation fee on a member who elects to cancel his/her membership during a financial year; however, no cancellation fee will be charged if a member gives notice not to renew his/her membership at the end of the club’s financial year.

7. There is a 3 month "cool off" period applicable if a member elects to cancel his/her membership. If a member reinstates his membership within this period the Club reserves the right to charge an entrance fee.

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9. The Club may suspend a member that is in default on his membership fees paid on debit order if that debit order is not successful. The Club will inform the member of this and the member has 3 business days to rectify his/her account. If the 3 business days lapse without any payment of outstanding amount the club reserves the right to suspend the member.  Membership will only be reinstated upon receipt of amount in arrears. If a member has 3 consecutive failed debit orders without arrears being paid up, the Club may cancel his/her membership given twenty business days' notice in writing to remedy this breach and the member fails to do so. When a member is suspended he is not deemed to be a member.

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14. By signature hereto, the member expressly acknowledges he has read, and understands, the following disclaimers from the Club Constitution and the Club Bye-Laws.

15. General disclaimer: Randpark Club does not accept liability or responsibility whatsoever in respect of death or injury of person or destroying or damage to property or loss of any nature, whether arising from negligence or any other cause including lightning, which is suffered by any member or any person who enters the club premises and/or uses the golf course or any other amenities or facilities provided. Members and other users of the Club facilities use the facilities at their own risk and are advised to insure themselves for loss and injuries they may suffer and for claims against themselves.

16. A member is not entitled to a refund of golf fees in the event a competition or round is cancelled due to weather.

17. Vouchers which may be given to a member upon joining are given on a complimentary basis and do not form part of the subscription.

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