Mrs Pat Sawers has stepped down after seven years as chair of the committee which has responsibility for Carnoustie’s world-famous Open Championship golf links.
The current Lord Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Sawers has a lifelong association with the links having first picked up a golf club at around the age of just two and played the local courses with her father from a young age.
Pat’s father, Ron Bell, served on the links management committee as greens convenor, and worked closely with the Links Superintendent during the 80s and early 90s to bring the courses back to championship condition.
In the top post with Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee (CGLMC), Pat followed in her uncle, Dougal Thomson’s footsteps, who also served as chairman in 1979.
She has been a Carnoustie season ticket holder and a member of the oldest functioning ladies golf club in the world, Carnoustie Ladies, since 1997.
Pat became captain of the Ladies Club in 2010, joining the CGLMC the same year.
In 2011, Mrs Sawers was appointed PR convenor and elected vice-chairman in 2012.
Assumed leading role in 2014
She was appointed to lead CGLMC in 2014 and helped establish Carnoustie Golf Links as a charitable trust.
Since then it has contributed some £320,000 to community causes.
In her quest for Carnoustie to become world-leading, Pat oversaw the appointment of a chief executive in September 2017, whilst also delivering a £6m project to extend and upgrade the golf centre.
It saw the opening of Links House in April 2018 and the pinnacle of her tenure with the hosting of the 147th Open Championship.
The eighth Open to be staged in the Angus town, it was played in heatwave conditions and a global television audience of more than 600 million watched Francesco Molinari become the first Italian to win the coveted Claret Jug.
The event also saw Pat become the first woman chair of an Open Championship venue, and the first woman to present the Silver Medal to the competition’s top amateur – Scots teenager Sam Locke.
Staunch advocate of encouraging women and children into the sport
During her tenure, she promoted the Women in Golf Charter and championed the participation of women and families in the game.
In November 2018, Mrs Sawers received a special recognition award for services to golf tourism.
She succeeded Mrs Georgiana Osborne as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Angus in August 2019 and has undertaken those duties alongside her duties as chair for CGLMC since.
CGLMC chief executive Mike Wells said: “Whilst we are sad to see Pat step down as our chair following such a successful run, and she does so with our enormous gratitude and sincere well-wishes, we do not lose her completely, as she will remain as a director on the board.”
Retired Forfar dentist Colin Yule has succeed Mrs Sawers in the chairman’s role.