Nick Faldo made a surprise appearance at Millport Golf Club 20 years ago this week.

The golfing star has always been respected in Scotland for his success in six major championships - the three Opens (1987, 1990, 1992) and three U.S. Masters (1989, 1990, 1996) - which has made him Europe’s undisputed best player of the present era (writes Dugald McIntyre.)

Club members praised Nick for his generosity, friendliness, approachability, wit and humour, in addition to his ability with a golf club.

His visit to the island of Cumbrae was to support the Anne Forsyth Memorial Day, organised by the family of Anne Forsyth, who died in 2003 in order to raise funds for charities involved in the support and care of cancer patients.

Anne’s son Iain Forsyth, who learned his golf as a junior at Millport, was Managing Director of Faldo Enterprises, and it was through him that Nick Faldo offered to interrupt his preparation for the Open at Troon in order to support the Millport event.

An exhibition match took place in the afternoon, in which Faldo was partnered by three other amateur players, each of whom had paid several thousand pounds to the charity for this privilege.

Faldo quickly struck up a rapport with the gallery of about one hundred spectators, and was particularly at ease with the youngest element, who were hanging on his every word.

Indeed, by the time the match reached the ninth fairway, Nick resembled the Pied Piper of Hamelin, to the extent that the security men had to ask for the enthusiastic juniors to give him a little more space.

Faldo birdied the eighth hole, where he almost drove the green, and saved par at the tenth and thirteenth by chipping from heavy rough, adjacent to the green and holing the putt. He three putted the sixth, and took three more just off the eleventh green for a score of 69, one over par. He had several birdie putts which shaved the hole but did not drop.

After the match had been completed, Nick conducted a most entertaining and instructional “golf clinic” on the first tee. He placed great emphasis on checking alignment and body posture and also on tempo, and his interesting comments on the psychology of shot making during a medal round. During his demonstration, he was assisted by two of the very youngest juvenile players.

A prize-giving followed, at which the Memorial Day competition results were announced. One hundred members had participated in the Stableford, which raised one thousand pounds for the charities. The total sum raised was about £20,000, and a cheque was handed over to a representative of the Ayrshire Hospice, which was the major beneficiary.

Others to benefit were North Ayrshire Cancer Care, the Friends of The Lady Margaret Hospital, Millport, and the District Nurses Palliative Care.