IN 1994, when Birkdale-based professional caddy and local celebrity Alfie Fyles was on his deathbed, friend John Murray asked if he had any regrets.
“Just two John. I wish that Pat (Alf’s ex-wife) and I had been able to make a go of it and I really wish I had had the time to write the story of my life.”
This resonated with John and the idea lay dormant, for almost 20 years until John’s sister Mags Eatock agreed to write a book relaying the funny, the sad and the downright rude tales that Alfie used to regale his family and friends with.
The book begins in 1912 with Alfie’s father, Teddy Fyles, being caught searching the newly opened Birkdale golf course for balls to sell, to eke out the meagre family funds. Teddy was subsequently offered a job as a cloakroom attendant at the club by the then captain and when he later met and married Margaret the couple expected each of their eight children to help in the household – from an early age, each of the boys were taken to the club on match days to caddy and to make much needed pennies which were duly handed over to Margaret for food and bills.
When 10-year-old Alfie carried his first set of clubs in 1936, he was hooked and dreamed of becoming a professional caddy and of winning an Open at some time in the future.
Alfie, brother Albert and neighbours Ted Halsall and Bobby (Jackie) Lee would go on to caddy for some of the world’s most famous golfers including Gary Player, Tom Watson, Gay Brewer, Tom Weiskopf, Greg Norman, Johnnie Miller, Tom Kite and Billy Casper to name a few and between them they won 10 Open Championships, numerous Walker Cups as well as many other events.
The book, FORE Open-Minded Birkdale Boys, relays some of the funny tales Alfie enthralled his family and friends with and tells the story of Alfie and his contemporaries.
Southport-based Mags said: “The book will have you laughing in places and crying in others. It portrays the life of Alfie and his colleagues and you will be unable to put it down until you have read the book to the end.”
For more details call John Murray on 07762 974866. Copies of the book are available via amazon.co.uk, at Waterstones, Broadhursts of Southport, Park Golf Club and on Kindle.