It was with profound sadness that members learned of Torrens’s passing following a short illness. Torrens was always proud of his association with Kilrea Golf Club, and he was an outstanding ambassador for our club. He became a member in 1976 and was a central figure in the running of the club over the next 40-plus years. Torrens was elected as Captain in 1981, was President in 2008-9 and served as a Trustee, having originally been appointed by the Council in 1992. Torrens was the prime mover in the club’s acquisition of the lands on which the existing layout sits. These purchases were concluded in March 1992 and September 1993. For many years either side of these land deals Torrens was given responsibility for the selection of incoming Captains, a function that allowed him to deploy his unrivalled diplomatic skills and shrewd judgement.
Before taking up golf Torrens was an accomplished footballer and rugby player, and he was heavily involved in the local tug-of-war scene. Yet it was on the golf course that the man from Moneydig found his true calling. With a great ‘eye for a ball’ and considerable physical strength, Torrens quickly became a very competent player. His ability, allied to his fierce competitive spirit, enabled Torrens to record numerous competition successes, with his final victory registered in the first event played under the World Handicapping System in November 2020. He represented the club at every level from Senior Cup through to the Ulster Fourball, but it was in the Ulster Cup during the 1980s and 1990s that he built his reputation as a formidable anchor-man for the Kilrea team. A succession of bewildered opponents were physically and mentally worn down as Torrens produced a series of virtuoso performances. Many of these matches became the stuff of club legend. A particular favourite was the encounter with the playing captain of the Royal County Down team, a High Court judge who had adjourned a notorious case at lunchtime on a Tuesday in order to make the trip to Kilrea. The unsuspecting judge would stumble into a legal minefield as Torrens explained in intricate detail local rules that gave him a free drop on the cart path leading down to Lennox’s moss but denied a drop to the judge whose second shot had come to rest on the old lane. On hearing the verdict the judge consulted with his bodyguard, whose silhouette in the evening sunlight indicated that he was carrying something under his jacket on a par with Torrens’s two-iron. There would, however, be no appeal, though the judge later queried the legality of the infamous ‘sharp’ club.
Golf, of course, is a sport that provides an opportunity for much conversation. Many players do not avail of this: Torrens did. A single hole might involve a political debate, post-match analysis of a particular football game, quiz questions on the identity of the MP for Wokingham or the Spurs left back in the 1962 cup final, a recital from Grey’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, a telephone bid for a tractor in Aberdeenshire, an announcement of the latest score in the Coleraine game, or a query on the title of the ‘B’ side of a 1958 Elvis Presley single, the first verse of which would be sung if the other three players responded with insufficient enthusiasm.
Torrens was a brilliant character – highly intelligent, sociable, persistent and never stuck for an answer. He had an astonishing memory bank of amusing anecdotes which he loved to recall. It was very noticeable that over the last year the two new members of the fourball delighted in listening to Torrens recounting these stories.
While he was an ever-present in the stand at the Coleraine Showgrounds, Torrens always made the effort to squeeze in his Saturday golf game. Over many years Kilrea Golf Club has greatly benefited from Torrens’s expertise in the procurement of machinery. No mechanical problem was insurmountable, and he devoted considerable time to ensuring that the greenkeeping staff had all the necessary equipment. Torrens was even directing repair work from his hospital bed during his recent illness. As an individual he also enriched the lives of all those at the club who knew him, and everybody knew Torrens. Irreplaceable in so many ways, Torrens has bequeathed a host of memories that will raise a laugh long after a tear has been shed.
Away from the golf course, Torrens was extremely proud of his family. The Council and club members wish to extend their sympathy to Norma, Lynne, Karen, Richard and the wider McFetridge family circle.
One of a kind!