The Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland and the worldwide Pitch and Putt fraternity are mourning the death of William Parker on April 2nd. William (Willie or Bill) Parker was a native of Youghal in Cork . He was involved in Pitch and Putt since the 1960s. Originally a member of Collins in Cork city, Willie won the Cork Junior Strokeplay championship in the late 1960s.
Employed in the telecommunications industry, Willie moved to Dublin in the seventies. He originally joined
Always interested in the coaching and mental (as befitting a psychology graduate from University College Cork) side of our sport, Willie was National Coach of the P.P.U.I. for a time, assisting the National Executive of the day with a series of videos and pamphlets on coaching. In the late 1980s, he became Office Administrator of the P.P.U.I. for a short span (in succession to the late Bill Humphries R.I.P.) and masterminded the move from Shandon Gardens to the Union s current home in the House of Sport. It was during his tenure at the helm of the P.P.U.I. HQ that he had the idea of developing a monthly newsletter a thought that spawned Backspin the official monthly magazine of the P.P.U.I. A keen photographer, Willies cameras produced many shots that graced the pages of Backspin through the years. As a student of sports writing (particularly American) he was a constant source of ideas for articles.
He returned to the Collins club committee in the mid 1990s to mastermind the clubs hosting of the 1995 National Mens Strokeplay championship in its 50th year of existence
Willie moved to Britain in 1996 to work with David Bugg and was central in the formation of the original British Pitch and Putt Union. His promptings were a major factor in the hosting of the inaugural European Team Championship at Chelmsford in 1999. His interaction with the Royal & Ancient Golf of St. Andrews and golfing figures such as the late Peter Dobereiner kept Pitch and Putt in the public consciousness over the years. Ardently aware of the rich history of the game, he made significant contributions to maintaining a Pitch and Putt archive.
After his stint in Britain, Willie accepted an offer to coach in Holland, where the game was just about to take off. His impact there was remarkable and his ability to impart the rudiments of the game in a simple one method manner was a key component of the games rapid advancement in Holland . So popular was the Corkman in The Netherlands that one of the clubhouse bars bears the title Willies Pub.
Having attended the Dublin meeting which agreed to form the European Pitch and Putt Association in 1999, Willie has also visited most of the other E.P.P.A. countries where he dispensed his unique brand of Pitch and Putt wisdom, ranging across such diverse topics as handicaps, instruction and marketing
Equally at home teaching the beginner and the accomplished player, Willie became known as something of a Guru to the stars. Many successful performers, here in Ireland and abroad, credit their improvement and famous victories to the expert tutelage of Willie Parker.
Willie had a friendly approachable disposition. He was genuinely interested in others. He spotted potential that persons themselves overlooked and was an expert on helping people realise that promise. Willie worked for Maher Sports across Munster during the nineties, affording him the ideal opportunity to demonstrate his coaching capabilities and also utilize a long held keen interest in Pitch and Putt/golf equipment. His Instructional Articles and Motivation/Psychology articles were studied avidly. Of course, Willies landmark opus was his seminal work on the sport The Short Game
Pitch and Putt is the poorer for his passing. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.
William Parker was a worthy first recipient of the Pitch and Putt International Achievement Award, presented at the European championships in McDonagh. At National Convention in December 2003, Willie was inducted into the P.P.U.I. Hall of Fame in recognition of his immense contribution to the sport.Hammond Laneand later switched to Shandon when the southside club folded.