THE UNTIMELY death of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros has sparked grief here in Cumbernauld - as it was the Spaniard who co-designed the 18-hole Westerwood Golf Course.
Seve (54) passed away at his home in Pedrena in Northern Spain at the weekend after a severe deterioration in his health, stemming from a brain tumour diagnosed four years ago.
Back in the late 1980s, the five times Major winner was a regular visitor to Westerwood, flying in by helicopter to get a look at the course. To the delight of members and staff he often found time to fit in a round of golf into the bargain!
His handiwork – including the 10th hole known as Seve’s Trap – was finally unveiled in 1989. Legions of fans turned out to see the golfing legend - who wasn’t slow to flash his trademark smile.
Among those who met Seve was the club’s Ranger Mark Tortellano who still works at Westerwood.
“When I heard the news I had a wee tear in my eye,” said Mark (52) who lives in nearby Carrickstone. “He was an absolute gentleman and a real superstar - and not everyone in the golf world is like that believe me.
“Guys in the 30s to 50s age range are probably playing because of Seve. He inspired people to take up the game. ”
Former Cumbernauld News reporter Jill Buchanan had the pleasure of meeting Seve when he jetted into a press conference at Airth Castle to publicise the course.
Jill, chief reporter with the Falkirk Herald, said: “Seve was a gentleman with perfect English - until you asked him a question he didn’t want to answer, then it was a shrug of the shoulders!’’