JIMMY McLAGAN

It is with great sadness that I am advising you of the passing of one of the Clubs greatest golfers and characters, Jimmy passed away on Saturday evening.
Our Club Captain has put together this wonderful heartfelt tribute.

The Club would like to pass on our condolences to Jimmy’s family
Funeral details will be advised when they are known.

James McLagan   6/8/1933 – 7/1/2023

It is with great personal sadness that I have to report the passing of James McLagan commonly known to me as “big Jim” and to most of the older membership of Swanston Golf Club simply as Jimmy.
Jimmy McLagan first came to prominence as a golfer in the mid 1950’s when he won the Club Championship at Swanston in 1955.
The son of a farm worker at Swanston Jimmy played and learned his golf at Swanston with his future brother-in-law John More, who became a prominent Professional golfer having played in a number of Open Championships and was the Club Professional at Carlisle until his retirement.
I know for a fact that Jimmy was devastated when John passed away a few years ago.
As Swanston Farm and golf course was such a small community, I suppose it came as no surprise that Jimmy fell in love with and married John’s sister Ellen.
Ellen and John’s mother Christina was the club-mistress at Swanston for 50 years from the opening in 1927 until her retirement in 1977 and their father Herbert More built the golf course, the majority of which still remains to this day.
Jimmy was a printer by trade and worked his entire life in that industry with most of his time with the esteemed company of Lindsays situated just off the High Street in Edinburgh.
It helped that the M.D. of the company was Bill Sivewright, also like Jimmy a scratch golfer, and this inevitably led to a certain amount of time spent at Prestonfield GC where Jimmy joined and spent 10 happy years there.
Ellen gave birth to David in 1957 and the family lived happily in Morningside.
During that spell Jimmy won many tournaments in Edinburgh with his claim to fame being when he and Jack Burnside representing Prestonfield won the Evening Times Scottish Foursomes at Glenbervie.
Jack went on to win a Scottish cap and much to everyone’s surprise including the great Ronnie Shade who Jimmy used to “cuff” regularly in Sunday afternoon bounce matches, sadly it wasn’t to be for Jimmy.
He reminded me often of many of his matches in the Scottish Amateur particularly after a few drams and the one highlight for me of all the many stories was the last 32 of the Scottish at the Old Course when he won at the 24th in the morning and lost in the last 16 at the 26th in the afternoon.
50 holes in one day on a Championship links under severe pressure.
Jimmy slept that night!
Unfortunately, tragedy was to follow for Jimmy and Ellen.
In 1967 at the age of 10 David was operated on for a severe heart condition and did not survive. Jimmy and Ellen moved back to Swanston from their home in Morningside and moved in with Ellen’s Mum at the cottage next to the first tee.
Jimmy joined Swanston again and the first time I met him was in 1968 when as a 10 year old I watched him win his second club championship at Swanston beating Willie Timmins 5 and 4 in the 36 hole final.
That game was what got me hooked on golf.
Three years later my own Dad passed away and Jimmy took me under his wing.
He was fantastic with me and taught me the game inside out.
We became partners, and he was the one when my temper got the best of me that said “you have to learn how to lose before you can learn how to win”
Jimmy and I have won 22 Swanston Club Championships (11 each) between us and remarkably during that long time from 1955-2007 we did not play against each other once in that competition.
I am now glad as I can now look back and say “big Jim you were the best not only on the golf course but off it as well”.
You were my mentor; my friend and you will be sorely missed by many.
RIP big fella.

Graeme.

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