English Golf Courses

Tributes are paid to top photographer

English golf mourns prolific snapper Tom Ward

TOM WARD, the face behind the camera at almost every important amateur event for more than a decade, has lost his battle with cancer. He was 66.

A man dedicated to his craft, he built a library of over 200,000 images while walking the fairways home and abroad since the turn of the century and will be sorely missed by so many connected with amateur golf, both officials and players.

Tom was born in Exeter in 1946 and after school headed for the services, becoming one of the RAF’s youngest entrants in 1962. He became a skilled Radio Technician, training at Cosford before serving in Aden and Singapore.

PURSUE

Leaving after 15 years, he was offered a position with the BBC and stayed for two years before switching to GCHQ in Cheltenham, where he met his wife Elizabeth and they married in 1986.

After carrying out training at Bletchley Park, Tom remained with GCHQ until 1985, leaving to pursue photography as a career and business.

In 1988, Tom and Elizabeth moved to Scarborough due to family illness and stayed there until 1993 when Elizabeth was posted to Cornwall, and they remained there until 2000." During that time, Tom began working at golf tournaments, particularly the professional events at St Mellion, while he also learned to play the game and got to understand its rules, which would help him later. He also contributed a weekly golf column in a Cornish newspaper about his work.

On moving back to Tewkesbury in 2000, Tom joined the English Golf Union as its official photographer, which fitted him like a glove. He loved working for the Union, being involved at the sharp end of events and travelling to all the tournaments.

He also became friends with players, many of whom are now successful in the professional game, while referees were wary of his camera snapping them in amusing situations.

It was last summer that Tom fell ill but he faced his troubles with courage and fortitude, never lowering his photographic standards or suffering fools.

Beside Elizabeth, he leaves a daughter Sarah by a previous marriage and grandchildren Jessica and Nathan. A son, David, pre-deceased him.

Dave Hamilton, England Golf’s press officer, paid his own tribute to Tom, saying: “Having spent the last 12 years with Tom at golf tournaments across the country, I found a true companion, soulmate and friend. We were a team, he supplying the pictures and me the words. We covered miles together, were professional, but always found time for a laugh. I am already missing him but his superb photographswill provide, for years to come, a lasting memory of a man dedicated to his skills behind the lens.”

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