20th August 2022
Dr. David Max Marsh MBE, the former Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup captain and player, has sadly passed away at the age of 88.
David was first selected for the GB&I Walker Cup team in 1959. However, captain Gerald Micklem chose not to select him in either of the then two 36-hole series of games. Marsh, who was in the middle of University exams at the time and had played little golf prior to the contest, was not overly displeased by the decision.
His second Walker Cup appearance in 1971 proved to be far more memorable. GB&I defeated the USA at St Andrews 13-11 for only their second win in the history of the match and first since 1938. Marsh played in three of the four series, winning one foursomes (with George Macgregor) but losing the second (with captain Michael Bonallack) before delivering a famous singles win on the final afternoon. Playing in the penultimate game against Bill Hyndman, and the final one out on the course, he found himself 1Up on the 17th tee. He then played what Donald Steel described as “one of the finest single strokes in the history of the Walker Cup”, a 3-iron onto the Road Hole green. A par there and another on the 18th saw him maintain his lead and secure a full point for the team.
David Marsh Competing In The 1971 Walker Cup Match (Photo: Cowpar/Central Press / Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
David captained the GB&I Walker Cup team in 1973 and 1975. In 1973 a determined USA team won back the trophy 14-10 at The Country Club in Brookline. Marsh’s luck didn’t improve next time out either with the American’s fielding one of their strongest teams ever at St.Andrew’s in 1975 and running out easy 15.5-8.5 victors.
Marsh first represented GB&I in 1958 in the St Andrews Trophy match against the Continent of Europe, helping his side to a 10-5 away success at Golf de Saint-Cloud in France.
His greatest individual performances came in the English Amateur Championship which he won in 1964 at Hollinwell, beating Rodney Foster by 1 Hole in the Final, and in 1970 at Royal Birkdale, where he overcame S. Geoff Birtwell 6&4.
He represented England on 75 occasions, including being a member of the victorious European Amateur Team Championship side in 1971. He was also a member of nine winning English Men’s Home International Teams (1957-58-59-60-64-65-66-68-69).
He played in 13 Amateur Championships between 1957-73 winning 24 of his 37 matches. No doubt he will have been disappointed not to have got beyond the Last 16 which he did twice; in 1957 at Formby and also in 1971 at Carnoustie.
In addition to his numerous playing achievements Marsh also made a significant contribution to the administration of the game. He was a Past Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (1990-91), a former President of England Golf (1988), a former President of Lancashire Golf Union (1985-86) and Past Captain at his home club Southport & Ainsdale (1967). He was Chairman of the R&A Selection Committee between 1979-83.
David Marsh – Past Captain of The R&A G.C. of St. Andrews.
He was awarded the Gerald Micklem Award by England Golf in 1998 and an MBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List, both for outstanding service to amateur golf.
Marsh was born in Southport on 29th April 1934 and educated at King George V Grammar School and Cambridge University, where he captained the golf team. He went on to be Captain of the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society in 1998 before becoming its President in 2003.
David also made a number of notable contributions to life away from the golf course. He was keen rugby union player for Southport R.F.C. in the 1950s, a popular and successful GP in Kirkby in his working life, a staunch supporter of Claire House Hospice on the Wirral and perhaps most interestingly a Director (1988-97) and Chairman of Everton Football Club (1991-94).
He leaves a second wife, Katy, and three children, Simon, Nigel and Fiona. His first wife Jennifer died in 2001.
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