TRIBUTES have been paid to a professional hailed 'a gentleman' who taught generations of people to play golf.

Eddie Goodwin, from Knutsford, served at Mere Golf and Country Club for 26 years.

The gifted sportsman has died aged 94, following a short illness.

Recalling his early days, son Ross, 61, said: "At the age of 14, he got his first job at Mere as assistant to George Duncan, who was the 1920 Open champion and the first Ryder Cup captain on British soil.

"Dad was paid a shilling a day and his final job of the day was to count the tees left on the counter.

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"As this time was during the war, he was allowed to practise and reduced his handicap to scratch."

Eddie Goodwin when he was younger

Eddie Goodwin in his younger days

Eddie joined the army when he was 18 and served in Kenya, Cairo and Athens, where he was given a job in an office sending top secret messages to various parts of Greece.

Daughter Julie, 64, said: "We said that must have been exciting but he said it was boring.

"He remembers complete poverty throughout the city."

Eddie played various golf courses whilst in the army, most memorably in front of the pyramids.

After the war, he resumed his golf career, competing in tournaments including the Irish Open.

Love blossomed in 1951 at a friend's wedding when he was the groomsman and fell for Pat, a bridesmaid, and they soon married.

Eddie Goodwin and his late wife Pat

Eddie Goodwin with late wife Pat

A year later, Eddie played his first Open Championship.

Ross said: "He was drawn alongside the famous American amateur Frank Stranahan. Dad finished one shot behind him after two rounds but unfortunately missed the cut by one shot."

In 1966, Eddie became Mere's professional and described becoming president of the club as 'one of his proudest moments'.

Meeting celebrities including Sir Matt Busby and Sean Connery failed to impress him.

Ross said: "Once, on his day off, the famous Hollywood star Howard Keele was in the golf shop. He asked Eddie if he'd like to join him for a round of golf.

"To mum's astonishment, he declined the offer. Celebrity status never really bothered him."

Eddie played his last round when he was 90 and loved watching golf on television.

"Dad was a quiet man, a gentleman," said Ross. " He never showed off.

"He got to live his life following his greatest passion. How many can look back on their lives and say that?"