In the seventies, our company founders, Ken Hamill and David Patterson, were employed by a medical division of Colgate, located in London. At that time, David Foster, Colgate’s Chairman, had indulged his passion for golf by steering the company into the acquisition of a number of golf related companies (e.g. Penfold, Ram, Craigtoun and others), with sponsorship of major tournaments being a part of the territory. The Colgate Ladies’ PGA at Sunningdale and the Penfold PGA at Royal St George’s were both held around this time, and David and Ken acted as corporate hosts for the company.
The founders complemented one another, as Ken had a finance background and David worked in marketing. After some length of time, Ken decided it was time to leave the corporate life, and it seemed a tempting prospect to combine their talents to promote golf tourism from the USA to Great Britain and Ireland. Helpful background for this was Ken’s membership of Prestwick, and his resultant familiarity with a number of Scottish courses. David had graduated from St Andrews University a few years earlier, and we all can imagine what an introduction to golf which college life in St. Andrews can provide.
When Ken left the employ of Colgate and returned to the USA towards the end of the Seventies, he began developing a client list and working with small groups. However, the new business venture did not gain any real traction until 1980, when the prestigious members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects entrusted the fledgling operation with their first overseas study tour – to Scotland in 1980. The proof of success of that trip is that the Society and its members are still our clients today, and we have organized several other major trips for them in the intervening years.
As you can imagine, everything in the 70’s was coordinated via phone or mail, so confirming one trip for eight golfers could take several weeks or more, with dozens of letters going back and forth between USA and Britain. To make matters more complex many of the historic courses did not open their diaries until March of the same year, so in some instances, early Spring trips were fully confirmed only weeks prior to departure!
In the mid 90’s, David and Ken met Jamie Gardner, a graduate of the University of Stirling, working within the golfing community of St. Andrews, as a golf concierge. Ken, David and Jamie instantly became friends and a partnership quickly followed. This new relationship allowed Adventures In Golf to have an office in England, downtown St. Andrews, and an office in the United States. This in turn provided Adventures In Golf with arguably the most extensive access to guaranteed tee times on the Old Course, in St. Andrews.
In late 2002, Ken [through an employee] met Carl Johnson, a local lawyer working for a large defense contractor, Sanders (now BAE SYSTEMS). After only a few short conversations and a trip overseas, Ken, David and Jamie immediately formed a friendship with Carl. A few months later, he left his position at the defense contractor and joined the Adventures In Golf team.
In the mid-to-late 2000’s, David (and his wife Siobhan) and Ken all decided it was time to move towards retirement. Over the next several years, Jamie took over full operations of the UK division, and Carl did the same with the USA division. It was not until nearly 10 years later did Ken, David and Siobhan fully move into retirement, which provides some insight into the dedication and enjoyment the golfing industry provided them. It also reflects on the warm relationships they had all formed over the years - no one wanted to retire and none of the staff wanted them to!
Today, David & Siobhan are no longer involved in the day-to-day operations, but still engage both offices when needed. But, more importantly, they are now able to take the time to fully enjoy their retirement, which includes horseback riding, golfing and walking the beach off the coast of northeast England.
On December 10th, 2016, Ken sadly passed away at the age of 78, after a long battle with cancer. He spent his final days surrounded by his loved ones, singing some of his favorite songs. Aside from his passion for golf, Ken was also an avid angler, and history & music buff. Adventures In Golf would have never been the company it is today without him - thank you Ken - you will be remembered by many.
Jamie and Carl still operate the company as David and Ken did so many years ago, with service and attention to detail as the main infrastructure, and our customer’s needs and desires as the guiding beacon to success. With full-time staffed offices in both USA and Scotland, and sales staff throughout the United States, Adventures In Golf remains the industry leader in creating the most memorable golfing experiences.