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Archie Compston

In 1948, Archie Compston embarked on a new chapter in his illustrious golfing journey as he assumed the role of Head Golf Professional at the Mid Ocean Club. His reputation as a formidable match play golfer, coupled with his prowess as a coach and mentor, had already left an indelible mark on the golfing world.

Archie Compston's legacy had been cemented throughout the 1920s as he established himself as a force to be reckoned with in match play golf. The era was characterized by "challenge" matches against fellow professionals and wealthy amateurs, a domain where Compston shone brightly. His victories in the British PGA Matchplay Championship in 1925 and 1927, and his memorable triumph over Walter Hagen in a 1928 challenge match, solidified his status.

In that famous match against Hagen, Compston showcased his prowess by defeating the American 18 & 17, a testament to his match play skills. However, the two met again shortly thereafter at The Open Championship, where Hagen managed to prevail, with Compston securing a commendable third place.

In 1930, Archie Compston nearly disrupted Bobby Jones's pursuit of the Grand Slam at Hoylake. His third-round brilliance, a 68, briefly claimed the lead from Jones. Yet, a dramatic twist of fate saw his form falter in the final round, resulting in an 82 and a lower finish than anticipated.

Compston's impact extended beyond the fairways; he gained recognition as one of Britain's earliest "celebrity" professional golfers. His coaching abilities caught the eye of future King Edward VIII, further enhancing his reputation.

As he took on the role of Head Golf Professional at the Mid Ocean Club in 1948, Compston continued to personify perfection in golf. His devotion to the game was evident in his relentless pursuit of excellence, both as a player and as a coach. His drills and putting lessons became renowned, molding and inspiring club members like Bobbie Park and George Wardman, as well as guests of the club like US President Dwight Eisenhower during his visit in 1957 and Group Captain Douglas Bader, a WWII hero and double amputee.

He was also a strong advocate for bringing more international golf to the island, and the impact it would have on Bermuda's golf community and reputation. He encouraged more international matches to be held on the island, playing in many of them and coaching players in others.

One significant event that drew attention was the rematch between Compston and Gene Sarazen in 1956, held on the Mid Ocean course. Playing before the biggest gallery in Bermuda, the famous veterans put on a captivating show before Sarazen emerged victorious. Compston's dedication to the sport and his warm presence earned him the affection of everyone he encountered.

His legacy lives on through cherished memories at the Mid Ocean Club. Archie Compston could often be found on the practice green with a bucket of balls or wandering the fairways, sharing his wisdom with fellow golfers. His passing in 1962 marked the end of an era, but his impact remains palpable.

To honor his memory, a shelter was erected at the Mid Ocean Club, a place where golfers could take refuge from the elements and enjoy the stunning views that Compston had cherished. A custom plaque overlooking the practice tee bore a fitting tribute to the man who dedicated his life to the pursuit of golfing perfection and touched the lives of countless individuals.

When choosing how to honor the great man, one of Compston's students, the Governor of Bermuda Admiral Sir Ralph Leatham, remembered the Golf Pro's fondness for shelters - "someplace to sit, to get out of the wind, or those sudden Bermuda downpours, or just to admire the view". With this in mind, a shelter was constructed with a custom plaque of the golfer overlooking the practice tee.