MORAY Golf Club once hid a dark secret concerning the town’s most noted son, Lossiemouth-born Ramsay MacDonald.
The UK’s first Labour premier had his membership terminated due to his opposition to World War 1.
MacDonald, who came from a working-class family, was mercilessly attacked by the press for his opposition to the Great War, but went on to hold the top job in 1924 and again between 1929 and 1935.
Holidaying in nearby Grantown-on-Spey at the time of MacDonald’s expulsion, the celebrated playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote: “My business is to visit Lossiemouth…a place which has simultaneously produced the best Prime Minister of my time and the most stupendous collection of golf snobs known to history. Both should have a monument there.”
An avid golfer and a key figure in the town’s history, MacDonald later snubbed an invitation to rejoin the 127-year-old club after he became famous.
But that hasn’t stopped Moray’s committee from honouring MacDonald with the launch of a specially commissioned whisky to coincide with the centenary of him being booted out by the members!
MacDonald is one of three legendary Prime Ministers who had ties with the club, whose records show that Conservative Arthur Balfour and Liberal Herbert Asquith also played the links and the trio did so together on at least one occasion.
Balfour and Asquith are also being honoured as part of the Founder’s Legacy Collection of three whiskies, the first of which is a 21-year-old Speyside single malt paying homage to MacDonald. Only 100 bottles of “Exclusion” have been produced. It is described as having “hints of exotic fruits with defined citrus notes” and is available only at Moray Golf Club. It will be joined by two releases dedicated to the famed trinity.
Club captain John Thomson said: “Ramsay MacDonald was one of the greatest politicians of his era and a famed son of Lossiemouth and we thought it appropriate to mark his political contribution and his association with the club with a special whisky.
“His political life was colourful, prolific and admired, but he was also a great sportsman and a long-standing and sometimes prize-winning member of Moray Golf Club and it is this we would like to celebrate.”
He added: “It’s unusual to have three noted Prime Ministers from the extreme of the political spectrum play such an important role in your club’s history and it certainly adds to the mystique of the place.
“It would be amiss of us to ignore our incredible past and we feel that by honouring our connection with these very special whiskies, the club is marking that association in a unique and fitting way.”