Jimmy Letters, who has died aged 86, was one of seven children of the late John Letters, who founded John Letters and Co (1918) Ltd, and his vision led to the resurgence of the golf club manufacturer well known for its association with many leading golfers including Neil Coles, Fred Daly, Bernard Gallacher, Paul Lawrie, Cathy Panton, John Panton, Gary Player, Dai Rees, Sam Torrance and Lee Trevino.
Letters assumed in 1983 the role of Managing Director with the company at their Hillington factory following negotiations with Dunlop and among his many initiatives was to license the first set of clubs to be branded by The European Tour.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, led the tributes when he said: “Jimmy Letters was the driving force that led the John Letters company, one of the most respected names in the manufacturing of golf equipment, back to the forefront of the game. He was a great friend of everyone at The European Tour and we were extremely proud to have a golf club licensed by the John Letters company. Our sincerest condolences go to his wife, Helen, and to all the family including his daughter Carole who has for many years been a much respected colleague at our Wentworth Headquarters.”
Neil Coles, Chairman of The European Tour Board of Directors, said: “I enjoyed quite a history with the John Letters company, playing their equipment for many years, and I am very sad that Jimmy has passed away.”
Bernard Gallacher, the winning 1995 European Ryder Cup Captain, said: “Jimmy Letters supported me when I first turned professional and it’s no exaggeration to say he played a crucial part in my early development.”
Sam Torrance, the winning 2002 European Ryder Cup Captain, signed his first ever professional contract with John Letters in 1971, re-signed in 2011 and recently extended the partnership. Torrance said: “Jimmy was a close family friend of both mine and my parents. He not only gave me my first contract but also got me the interview at Sunningdale which was the start of my career. I was delighted to sign with John Letters clubs for the second time in 2011 which will see me to the end of my career. Jimmy was a much loved man and he will be missed by all who knew him.”
A life-long supporters of Rangers, football was the first love of Letters and he played right midfield for both Rangers and Leicester City before successfully following his father and older brothers
into the family golf business.
He leaves a wife, Helen, and three daughters, Suzanne, Carole and Isobelle-Jane (Bizzy).
The funeral will at NOON on Wednesday, October 30, at the Linn Crematorium, 413 Lainshaw Drive, Glasgow G45 9SP and afterwards at Haggs Castle Golf Club, 70, Dumbreck Road, Glasgow G41 4SN