Roger McStravick has published a new book on the history of golf - and has paid special tribute to Lurgan for fuelling his passion for the sport.
Born and raised in Lurgan, Roger now lives in the ‘home of golf’ St Andrews, Scotland, and has dedicated the past few years to researching and documenting golf history. In a new book, ‘St Andrews - In the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris’, Roger chronicles the history of golf in the Scottish town, but is quick to credit his hometown for first teaching him the sport.
“I joined Lurgan Golf Club when I was 11 years old,” Roger says. “It was a fantastic club to grow up in. In the ‘80s, it was a phenomenal, vibrant club.
“I’ve always been a fan of golf history. My parents had paraphernalia of Tom Morris and Willie Park in my room.”
A former pupil of St Michael’s Grammar School, Roger studied in Wales before completing a PHD in Edinburgh, and moved to St Andrews in 2008.
With The Open taking place at St Andrews just a fortnight ago, Roger’s book has gained a lot of publicity - and been a big hit with the stars.
“The Open was a fantastic week, meeting a lot of well-known faces and signing books,” Roger explains. “During the tournament, I got a text saying Sir Nick Faldo wanted me to sign his copy of my book!”
The book has a particular link to Lurgan which is especially close to Roger’s heart.
“The book is dedicated to Stephen Guisely. We played golf together at Lurgan Golf Club. He was a great guy and great on the golf course. I was heartbroken when I heard about his death.” Stephen died tragically in America about twenty years ago, but he was one Lurgan man who had a big impact on Roger’s life. “Mr Tipping, a teacher at St Michael’s, is mentioned in the acknowledgements,” Roger shares. “He used to take us to all the golf tournaments - he gave up his free time to drive us all over the country. He was fantastic.”
Although he’s grown extremely fond of Scotland, Roger still makes trips back home.
“I owe so much to Lurgan and keep track of Lurgan Golf Club - people go in as children and stay there all their lives. I always refer back to Lurgan. It’s still very much a family-orientated club.”
Roger is married to wife, Farah, with whom he has a two year old son - and already has plans to make him a golfing champ: “If he has his mother’s temperament and my passion for the sport, he could go far! In Scotland, golf is free for kids, which is great for getting them involved.”
‘In the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris’ is available to purchase online at www.thegolfbookshop.com