PGA Tour star Martin Laird has led the tributes to Billy McCondichie, the renowned Scottish PGA professional who passed away on November 13.
McCondichie was the long-time head PGA professional at Hilton Park Golf Club, in the north of Glasgow. He died recently following a decade-long battle with cancer. He was 77.
US-based Laird, an honorary member at Hilton Park, said he was saddened to hear the news, adding that McCondichie was a constant figure about the club during the Bearsden player’s early days as an amateur.
“I was sorry to hear about the passing of Billy McCondichie,” Laird told bunkered.co.uk. “He was someone that I saw nearly every day as a kid up at the club and was always welcoming to me as a junior.
“He was a huge part of Hilton Park Golf Club for many years and it is a big loss for the club. The McCondichie name is one that will always be associated with Hilton Park.”
McCondichie took on the role of assistant PGA pro at the club in 1954 under the stewardship of his charismatic father, Jimmy, who became Hilton Park’s first professional in 1929. Jimmy was a previous winner of the Scottish PGA Championship, having won the title in 1947 at Luffness.
McCondichie retired from his role in 2006, having spent roughly 50 years of his life at the club as man and boy. The father and son duo contributed to almost a century of service at the club, a record few clubs in world golf can boast.
He was once thought of as the ‘golden boy’ of Scottish golf, boasting a prodigious talent for the game, and famously held the first round lead at the Open at St Andrews in 1955. He didn’t quite hit the heights many expected, as he suffered terribly from the yips with the putter.
He married Jean, the ex-wife of Rangers football legend Jim Baxter, in 1984, with Jean also becoming a popular figure on the scene at Hilton Park. McCondichie was also largely responsible for the modernisation of the pro shop at the club in the early 1990s, with he and his father having previously worked out of an old wooden hut.
He was nominated for a prestigious PGA award in 2013 due to his extensive charity work and assisted with the organising of the charity pro-am at East Renfrewshire Golf Club. His is pictured above, centre, collecting his nomination.
In addition, he sourced prizes for charity golf days and assisted at a number of other charity functions to raise funds for the Friends of Beatson Cancer Charity. He also ran a ball in aid of Renal Cancer Research.
When he was diagnosed with cancer over ten years ago, he was given a matter of months to live.
His funeral will be held at Clydebank Crematorium, North Dalnottar, on November 27.