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Above par Edwin says he still has a fairway to go

At the age of 30, London-born Edwin Jackson only intended to overnight in Bermuda before travelling on to California, where he would decide on whether to become an insurance underwriter or a professional golfer.

In the end, pro golfer won out, and so did Bermuda. In 1968, after dinner with friends at the Mid Ocean Club the course of his life changed, and he decided to stay on the Island.

“Well, you only need to step outside to see why I stayed,” said Mr Jackson. “It’s beautiful.”

Forty-five years later, Mr Jackson has made a name for himself as the pro golfer at Horizons Bed and Breakfast, teaching hundreds of people to play over the years and possibly repairing over 40,000 clubs for Horizons’ guests and members of the general public. Although Horizons is now closed, Mr Jackson still maintains a workshop on the property, and despite being 75 years old, has no plans to retire.

It was Mr Jackson’s mother who first encouraged him to take up golf after the Second World War in 1948.

“As you can imagine the golf courses were a little bit rough so soon after the war,” he said. “All the machinery was pre-war. They often had sheep keeping the greens cut. They would have sheep penned in on one area and the creatures would munch their way through the system.

“My mother took up golf after the war. She must have had friends who played golf at the time, so she decided that we should get involved in it. I liked it almost immediately, but in those days golfing was frowned upon in school. It was treated as a very selfish sport. Schools preferred to have team sports. So I went to boarding school, and played team sports like cricket.”

When he left boarding school his interest in golf combined with another interest, carpentry. As a young man, he enjoyed playing around with golf clubs. In Bermuda, this became a career, fixing grips and shafts for amateurs and pros alike. For much of his time in Bermuda, he has been located at Horizons.

“I was located in a few other places before coming to Horizons,” he said. “Brendan [Bees] Ingham was the undisputed best golfer in Bermuda when I came to Bermuda. He came to Horizons as general manager. In those days they had a little golf course out there. The family who owned the property agreed it would be a rather nice idea if [I had] a workshop here. It was supposed to be a temporary one where they kept the paint. I am still in the same place, 46 years later.

“Whenever someone needs a grip, they always know where to find me. I once fixed golf clubs for the famous South African golfer Arthur D’Arcy [Bobby] Locke.

“He won the British Open three times in the 1950s and 1960s. I dealt with his club. I also worshipped the ground that [British professional golfer] Sir Henry Cotton walked on. He was the pro at the club where I started in England.”

Mr Jackson said he enjoyed playing golf but never really intended to make a living as a player. Instead, he described himself as a “useful player”.

“I came into the business in 1964,” he said.

“In those days you only had to mention that you were going to earn your living from some part of golf, you didn’t have to be necessarily playing, and you lost your amateur status. That didn’t bother me, because I didn’t intend to become a playing golfer.”

He also makes unique pen holders in the shape of a golf club head. This started by accident, when a club head he was making from persimmon wood went awry.

Unfortunately, after making it, he found that the wood itself was bad.

“You don’t know until you have made it,” he said. “Having spent days making something like this you don’t want to just toss it away so I made pen stands out of it. You can’t get a piece of wood of this sort of quality. People from the Cross pen company were staying at Horizons at the time.

“They liked the thought of their make of pen in these stands, so they sent me dozens of their pens. It has been this type of thing that has allowed me to carry on staying here.”

Mr Jackson said it could cost anywhere from $40 to $400 to get a golf club repaired. It is the shafts that can be costly.

“It is not like the olden days where the steel shaft would cost $7,” he said. The management at Horizons has asked Mr Jackson to stay on at the property “until further notice” to act as eyes and ears for the property.

“I have no plans for retirement,” he said. “I don’t think my wife, Jane, could cope with that.”

It’s quiet now at Horizons, but Mr Jackson has his cat, Sammy, for companionship. Over the years, Mr Jackson has fed more than 25 cats on the property. Sammy is the last one.

His wife once wrote a children’s book about the cats called ‘The Seven Cats of Horizons’. The book was snapped up very quickly by fans of the resort’s cats. One of his favourite cats, Mashee, would frequently turn up at nearby Elbow Beach Hotel for breakfast and would be sent back to Horizons in a taxi.

To get a golf club repaired, call Mr Jackson on 777-0283.

Professional golfer Edwin Jackson, 75, in his workshop at Horizons. He continues to enjoy a long career as a golf teacher and repairer of golf equipment.(Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published November 14, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 14, 2011 at 8:40 am)

Above par Edwin says he still has a fairway to go

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