Thomas, who with Peter Alliss designed The Belfry’s famous Brabazon Course, received a PGA Recognition Award for outstanding service to the game of golf and The Professional Golfers’ Association at a Manchester lunch at the Lowry Hotel.
Dave Thomas with John Heggarty (PGA)
Joining him at the occasion was his great friend Alliss and representatives from the PGA including chief executive Sandy Jones and PGA North Region secretary Graham Maly.
“Dave Thomas has enjoyed a career in golf spanning seven decades and which has seen him excel both as a player and as a highly respected golf course architect,” said Jones. “He was an outstanding Captain of the PGA during its Centenary Year in 2001 and as a long standing member of the PGA we’re delighted to acknowledge his contribution to the game with this special award.”
During an illustrious playing career which began in 1949, Thomas was twice pipped to the Open Championship – in 1958 at Royal Lytham & St Annes when he tied with Peter Thomson before losing in a 36 hole play-off and eight years later at Muirfield when he finished runner-up to Jack Nicklaus.
Thomas also met and played with some of the game’s greatest players including James Braid, Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen and rates playing with Ben Hogan in the 1961 US Masters as one of his career highlights.
Others include playing in four Ryder Cups in 1959, ‘63, ’65 and ’67 before arthritis ended his playing career and Thomas immersed himself in his other great passion of golf course architecture.
His CV includes Bowood House, Mottram Hall, the Roxburghe in Scotland and overseas venues such as San Roque, the Almenara Hotel, La Baule and Cannes Mougins while courses in Japan, China, Taiwan, Africa and South America also bear his signature.