Top professional golfer who learned skills in Upper Eden
THE death has occurred, at the age of 80, of Ken Bousfield, the successful professional golfer who, as a 10-year-old, began to learn the game on the old Kirkby Stephen golf course.
Mr. Bousfield was born at Marston Moor, in Yorkshire, but he moved to Kirkby Stephen in 1930 when his father became stationmaster at the LNER station. Ken attended the town’s primary school before going to Appleby Grammar School.
As a boy, he spent many hours on the old Kirkby Stephen golf course. Even in those early days, in the 1930s, he visualised becoming a professional golfer.
He was encouraged by his father and by Mr. R. W. Braithwaite, Kirkby Stephen, each of whom supplied him with two clubs, his first.
In later years, Ken Bousfield also recognised the support he received from Fred Marshall.
When his father was transferred to Barnard Castle, three or four years later, he went to school in that town.
He became assistant professional at Coombe Hill in 1938 and resumed there after war service in the RAF.
Ken Bousfield reached his peak in 1955, for between that year and 1961 he won 19 professional titles, including the Belgian, German, Portuguese and Swiss Opens, also winning the British seniors PGA championship in 1972.
He represented Great Britain and Ireland in six Ryder Cup teams. In all he won five of his 10 matches, a remarkable record at a time when America dominated the biennial event.
An obituary tribute in The Times said of Ken Bousfield: “He gave hope to those who were unable to hit the ball a long way.
“For his long, fluid swing was in marked contrast to the relatively short distances he was able to propel the ball.
“What he lacked in length, however, he more than compensated for with an enviable rhythm, which accounted for his unerring accuracy and a short game that could at times be described as magical.”