Ian Connelly has featured in BwB a couple of times, mentioning he went from being a schoolboy footballer in Dundee to world respected golf coach.
His son Ben, now living in Sydney, Australia, hadn’t seen these articles but has recently been presented with them by a relative.
“It was my dad’s sister Helen Robertson (Sydney-based like myself) who received the Blether with Brown articles via mail recently from one of her Dundee-based friends,” said Ian.
“It’s worth highlighting that dad’s younger brother Robert (Bob), who recently passed away, also had quite an interesting life in sport and business.
“Dad left Dundee in 1959 and became assistant professional to Ian Marchbank at Turnberry, who then went on to be head professional at Gleneagles for over 30 years.
“Dad then moved to work for Jimmy Adams at Royal Mid Surrey in London.
“Jimmy, incidentally, was a Scottish Ryder Cup player in his day.
“Dad also had a year or two as head professional at Noordwijkse GC (Netherlands) before becoming club pro at Welwyn Garden City GC in Hertfordshire, where he remained for 11 years.
“In his time, dad was introduced to a 14-year-old beginner in Nick Faldo, who he originally palmed off to his assistant pro before teaching extensively for the next 13 years.
“Dad and Nick’s relationship unfortunately ended sourly, although dad was immensely proud of his later successes.”
Ben also talks of his dad’s time with another well-known figure in golf.
He continued: “In this time, dad was also Ken Brown’s coach.
“In 1977, Ken and Nick, at age 20, were the two youngest Ryder Cup players in history and were both being taught by dad.
“Dad wrote for Golf World for 20 years and also taught a string of other touring pros and leading amateurs.
“He remained close friends with Ken up until his death.
“As a player, dad also played in the 1964 and 1967 Open Championships at St Andrews and Hoylake respectively.
“He passed away, aged 64, in Hertfordshire in 2004 of heart disease.”
Another talented sportsperson in the family was Ian’s brother Robert (Bob), who was later to befriend one of the world’s best-known football men.
“Bob was signed by Bill Shankly at Liverpool as a 15-year-old,” Ben revealed.
“He remained at Anfield three years before coming back to Scotland to play for St Johnstone alongside Alex Ferguson for some time.
“Bob and Alex remained in touch sporadically throughout the years.
“Bob moved to Australia in 1965 after being recruited, like many Brits were at the time, to help aid the Australian Football League’s inception.
“In 1970, Bob actually captained Marconi to the Australian Cup title which is now known as the Australian A League.
“Bob, after football, went into the car trade and ended up running some of the most successful car dealerships in Australia.
“Bob was also a keen golfer and was an active member at New South Wales GC.”
The Connelly clan has grown in Sydney and Ian continued: “Bob passed away in May last year and left his wife Margaret (also from Dundee), two children and five grandchildren. The one surviving Connelly is their sister Helen Robertson, who has two children and four grandchildren.
“We are all based in Sydney.
“I am Ian’s only child. I emigrated 10 years ago after dad died to be with Bob and the majority of my family.
“Last year, I set up a recruitment business called Findlay Roberts. Both names are nods to my Dundee family, with Findlay being my grandmother Jean Connelly’s maiden name and Roberts coming from Robert, the christian name of my uncle and grandfather.
“I also had a go as a golf pro under dad’s tutelage and, in my junior and amateur years, I competed against the likes of Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Justin Rose.
“Dad’s and Bob’s achievements, for a couple of lads from Dundee who left home at 15 with little if any qualifications, is quite impressive.
“No doubt moulded somewhat by their financially poor and strict childhood, they were both incredibly tough men.
“At the same time, though, they also had great warmth, generosity and strong family values.”
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