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Eric James Cremin (1914–1973)

by Brian Stoddart

This article was published:

Eric James Cremin (1914-1973), professional golfer, was born on 15 June 1914 at Mascot, Sydney, fifth child of William Cremin, a bricklayer from Brisbane, and his Sydney-born wife Theresa Evelyn, née Coffey. At the age of 14 Eric left Gardeners Road Public School to work as a full-time caddy at the Australian Golf Club where his elder brother was employed on the greens staff. Sympathetic members provided Eric with his first full set of clubs and he dedicated himself to practice. After several years without a regular wage, in 1935 he was appointed assistant-professional at the Australian which made him eligible to play in professional tournaments two years later.

Small and slight, 5 ft 7 ins (170 cm) tall and weighing 10 st. 1 lb. (64 kg), Cremin built his game around fine putting skills, accurate iron play and timing, rather than big hitting and brute strength. He was naturally balanced, with a leisurely swing and upright stance. In 1937 he won the first professional event in which he entered, then went on to take the Professional Golfers' Association's New South Wales and Australian titles; in the latter he defeated V. S. Richardson at Royal Sydney Golf Club. Cremin won both events again next year. On 18 February 1939 at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Sydney, he married Kathleen Marie Whiteford, a waitress. When World War II broke out he tried to enlist, but was rejected because he had flat feet.

Between 1946 and 1962 Cremin was seven times runner-up in the Australian professional title, losing to such players as 'Ossie' Pickworth, Norman von Nida, Kel Nagle and Bill Dunk; nonetheless, he was Australia's leading money winner in 1949. That year he won the Australian Open, scoring birdies at four of the last five holes. He wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald and published Par Golf (1952). When his tournament wins started to dwindle, he took a position as professional at Roseville Golf Club in 1955.

Having played in the Philippines Open in 1939, from the early 1950s Cremin helped to develop the Asian professional circuit. In 1960 he became the professional at the Valley Golf Club, Manila, and travelled throughout Asia conducting clinics as a member of Precision Golf Forging Pty Ltd's promotional staff. Renowned as a golf teacher, he numbered kings, presidents and prime ministers among his pupils. In 1971 he accepted the professional's position at Singapore Island Country Club. Among other benefits, he felt that he was treated as an integral part of the club and not as a servant—which, he considered, was too often the case in many Australian golf clubs. 'Impeccable and precise in attire', he was good-humoured, 'always wearing that puckish little smile'. Cremin collapsed on the first tee at the Sine Road golf course, Singapore, and died of myocardial infarction on 29 December 1973. His wife and two sons survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • N. von Nida, Golf Is My Business (Syd, 1956)
  • J. Pollard, Australian Golf (Syd, 1990)
  • New South Wales Golf, 9, no 2, Feb 1974
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Sept, 6 Oct 1937, 17 Nov 1938, 30 Oct 1960, 31 Dec 1973
  • Sunday Herald (Sydney), 2 Oct 1949
  • Herald (Melbourne), 4 Oct 1949, 25 Sept 1965, 25 Mar 1972
  • Age (Melbourne), 16 Mar 1971, 31 Dec 1973
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 31 Dec 1973
  • Australian, 31 Dec 1973
  • Daily Mirror (Sydney), 10 Feb 1978, 3 Mar 1986.

Citation details

Brian Stoddart, 'Cremin, Eric James (1914–1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 29 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (Melbourne University Press), 1993

View the front pages for Volume 13

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