Warm tributes paid to Rye Golf Club legend

Warm tributes have been paid to golfing legend Peter Marsh
Warm tributes have been paid to golfing legend Peter Marsh

Friends and family have paid tribute to Rye Golf Club’s longest-serving professional player following his death last week.

A retired professional golfer and popular figure in the sport, 90-year-old Peter Marsh died after a short illness on January 17.

A former Sussex captain and a Sussex Open Champion, Peter is fondly remembered by all who knew him in the sport and beyond.

He was a staunch feature of the Sussex golfing scene for several decades, serving as Rye Golf Club’s professional player for close to 33 years – joining the club in 1962 during one of the harshest winters in the club’s history.

The winter was so harsh that the course remained closed from Boxing Day until April, leading the club’s members to hold a whip-round to make up for weather.

The gesture worked as Peter remained part of club life far beyond his retirement in 1995 – continuing to play the course for many of his later years.

Paying tribute this week, his successor Michael Lee said: “He was the life and soul of many a meeting. He was very popular all round, a very good player and a very big part of the club.”

Peter was also renowned for his love of the great outdoors. When speaking to this paper about his plans for retirement, he said: “I have a fly rod,a sea rod, a boat, a snooker cue, a 12-bore gun, a garden and there are only seven days in a week.”

He was also known as a keen sailor, as Cliff Pluck of the Sussex Professional Golfers Union remembers.

Cliff said: “Every year we would go over to Dieppe to play there. We would all take the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe, but not Peter. He would sail from Rye Harbour to Dieppe – through the busiest shipping lanes in the world–in his little boat and three days later he would arrive.

He was a local hero there. That was Peter Marsh.” Cliff says he thinks of Peter as a ‘real, old-fashioned professional’ who he thought would be ‘aghast’ at much of the modern sport.

He said: “A lot of modern professional players are just in it for the money. That wasn’t Peter. He was a true club professional. He always cared for his members and looked after them really well. “He was a really good model for all the up and coming young professionals.”

He is survived by his daughters Ann and Susan, his five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.