Excerpt from an article I wrote about last year’s Open Championship
Ian Bunch is taking a week off from running Prestwick Golf Club. He’s earned his reprieve. After 14 years at the helm of the world-famous club, you need a little down time. After all, the 65 year old has had a little more on his plate recently than the conventional run-of-the-mill budget-balancing chores.
Sitting in a secluded patio catching up on the Sunday papers, Bunch is recovering from a weekend of celebrations during which all living Open champions and captains of all the clubs that have hosted an Open Championship were invited to attend a celebratory dinner to mark the 150th anniversary of the first Open Championship in July 1860. It was a momentous weekend.
“We had 550 at a cocktail party, 260 playing golf on Saturday and then a dinner for 325 in the evening,” he says. “The reason I’m here, is because I’ve worked non-stop and I decided I wanted a break away from it.”
The other reason Bunch is at his home in St Andrews is to hand over a specially commissioned replica belt which will be presented to this year’s Open Champion along with the Claret Jug. “It’s all pretty special,” he says.
The happy coincidence of the 150th anniversary falling on a year when the championship is played at the Home of Golf marries nicely with the twist of fate that means Bunch is in his final year at Prestwick and is looking forward to spending some of his retirement in the Auld Grey Toon 14 years after he left it to go to the West coast.