While most golf watchers were focussed on the final group drama of the Seniors British Open at Royal Porthcawl, in the background was one of the volunteers helping it all happen.
R&A referee Pam Chugg is a member of Royal Porthcawl, as well as Whitchurch in Cardiff, so being able to officiate one of her own courses in such a high profile event as Padraig Harrington and eventual winner Alex Cejka went head-to-head was something special.
It will also be special this week when she referees at the Home Internationals in Machynys, Llanelli, when Wales hosts the events for Great Britain and Ireland’s top amateur men and women for the first time jointly.
However former professional player Chugg, aged 68, has given back to the game in many areas, in several volunteer roles, for over 25 years.
In that time, she has been a key player in many different ways in Wales and the Ladies Golf Union, before continuing to make her mark with the R&A and being recently appointed to the R&A Amateur Championships Committee.
She is a former Welsh Amateur champion and Wales international, who played professionally for five years before retiring to help her husband in setting up and running a business in fruit and vegetable shops.
After regaining her amateur status, Chugg was again selected for the Wales team. After finishing her playing career, she moved to more administrative roles.
Chugg served as a committee member on the Welsh council for ladies’ golf during which time she was Chair of Training for the international teams.
Subsequently she served on the LGU council as one of the Welsh representatives and again took on the role of Chair of Training for the GB&I international teams. In 2006, her final year on the LGU, she was appointed as Chair.
“I have been involved in many ways, but all voluntary,” said Chugg.
“I enjoy refereeing the Home Internationals, I loved playing in them and then captaining Wales and I still know a few of the players. This week will certainly be different having joint teams competing, so that will be something to enjoy.
“I have refereed all sorts of events for the LGU and R&A involving professional and amateur boys, girls, men and women and recently I did the Seniors Open at Porthcawl, refereeing the final match.
“It was nice to do that, as I don’t get to referee at Porthcawl very often. The weather was hideous but the course was fantastic.
“At the Vagliano Trophy in Royal Dornoch a few weeks ago the weather was terrible there as well, so I am used to it.
“When it comes to refereeing at these events it is useful to have been a player in amateur and pro events myself because I may have a little bit more of a handle on what’s going on and how the players want to be treated.”
Chugg won the Ladies Welsh Amateur Championship in 1978, before turning professional the following year, a founder member of the WPGA and playing on the circuit for five years. The WPGA paved the way for the LET of today.
After regaining her amateur status, she returned as an international player before moving into leadership roles of junior and then ladies’ teams.
“I did the referee’s course at St Andrew’s in 2000 for the first time,” she said. “I was captain of Wales Ladies and had the opportunity to do the Rules School at the R&A which I thought would be useful as captain.
“I was captain of Wales for three years and when I went onto the council of the LGU we would referee at all the ladies and girls’ events. I carried on refereeing for the LGU after finishing on the council.
“Then when the R&A and the LGU merged in 2017 a few of us transferred onto the R&A rules panel and continued refereeing at tournaments and international matches.
“So, I have done a lot of different things – but they have all been voluntary. All these events just would not work without the volunteers and it keeps me out of mischief.”
It is hard to find an area of golf where Chugg has not made a contribution, a key volunteer making events run smoothly across Wales and the UK.