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Peter Oosterhuis 1948-2024

Peter Oosterhuis 1948-2024

We are saddened to share that Peter Oosterhuis OA passed away on the 2nd May. The OA Golf Society share the following obituary.

Peter Oosterhuis is arguably the greatest sportsman that Dulwich College has produced. He represented his country at both amateur and professional levels, from 1964, when selected at Boys level, until 1981. He was effectively selected for every team for which he qualified during this period, and had a wonderful individual record. He uniquely played in the Halford Hewitt, the Walker Cup and the Ryder Cup. An achievement unlikely to be repeated.

Peter was born in Dulwich to an English mother and a Dutch father. His father had escaped from German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War.

When Peter was aged 12 his parents apparently asked Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf Club if Peter could pick blackberries on the course. He fortunately soon became more interested in golf playing almost every day and, taught by Len Rowe the long time professional at Dulwich and Sydenham, he became a scratch golfer within 2 years.

Peter’s influence on golf at the school was immense. Before his considerable achievements, golf was considered a very minor sport. It was decidedly inferior to the team sports of rugby, in particular, cricket and hockey.

Peter raised the game’s status at the school and inspired all those who followed him.

He was a committed member of the Old Alleynian Golfing Society. As a Vice-President, he regularly sent messages of support and encouragement to the Halford Hewitt team.

He won the prestigious Berkshire Trophy in 1966 when still at school, and played in the Walker Cup in 1967, also whilst still at school. He then represented Dulwich in the 1968 Halford Hewitt, playing with Bob Deakin in all 3 matches, and winning 2 of them.

Peter then turned professional in November 1968. By this time he was 6 foot 5 inches tall, and had a compact swing to suit his height, and a wonderful short game. Mike Kirby remembers playing with Peter when he was just 14, saying he was “quite small, with a long flowing swing”. Obviously he had a huge growth spurt and adjusted his swing accordingly and most successfully.

In 1969 he won the Sunningdale Foursomes with Peter Benka and finished runner up in the Natal Open, being named rookie of the year. Peter went on to be the dominate force in European golf in the 1070’s and early 1980’s, winning the European Tour order of merit from its inception in 1971 to 1974. He had 7 tournament wins on the European Tour and 3 on the Sunshine Tour.

Peter was a stalwart of the Ryder Cup, playing for GB&I 6 times from 1971 to 1981. Although he was on the losing side in every match, during a period of American domination, Peter won 14 of the 28 matches he played, and halved 3,. He beat Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

In 1975 Peter started to play full time on the PGA tour in the USA. Whilst never reaching the same heights as in Europe, Peter was a successful player on the PGA tour for many years, and won the Canadian Open in 1981.

Peter finished runner up in The Open twice, in 1976 and 1982 and had success in the other majors, but never quite getting into the winners circle.

Peter stopped playing full time in 1986 and from 1987 to 1993 he was director of golf at the Riviera Country Club In Pacific Palisades California.

In 1994 Peter embarked on a broadcasting career in golf which would prove to be equally successful as his time playing. He retired in 2015, after announcing that he was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s.

He is survived by his with wife Ruth and his two sons, Robert and Richard and 4 grandchildren.

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