Article: Peter Shanks, VIP and RIP

Another fabulous soul and friend enters the ultimate portal
By Brian R. Wright (Still on Twitter for the time being)

A good and distinguished friend of mine, most recently located in the Philippines, passed away a few weeks ago. I extend my warmest condolences to two of his sons that were avenues toward my meeting and getting to know Peter, as well as my sympathies to Peter’s family in the Philippines, and to his many personal friends worldwide. He was a fine English gentleman and an inspirational presence, constantly conveying a learned and effective can-do approach to life’s curves and fast balls. I put this column together from contributions by his sons, Steve, James, and Martin… as well as my own recollections.

First. my own thoughts

I came to know Peter—it would have been plus or minus a few years around 2010—when he visited his son, Steve, nearby in Northville, Michigan, USA. In those days I was part of a regular foursome who would play golf on Saturdays, mostly, at local courses. And for a spell, he would sub for one member or the other of the foursome. Peter was in his mid-70s in those days and we were in our early 60s. The photo, above right, shows Peter, probably while he was still a business leader in England when he would have been 60-something.

Steve, his son, I had worked with at an EDI (electronic data interchange) software company in Livonia.. At some point after I had left that EDI company, Steve became a member of the Western Golf and Country Club of Detroit and was close to a scratch-handicap (par) player. It was during this time that Steve introduced me to his father. As you’ll see from the obit-like details, Peter was at one time a professional golfer in England, with several notable wins and accomplishments.

He was also a—I guess you might call it—a student and practitioner of motivational techniques that he embraced from Napoleon Hill and other leading positive-life-transformation advocates of his era. Peter’s son, James, did not fall too far from that tree of Peter’s persona, with a goal of becoming the #1 motivational speaker and leader in the Far East. James’ first round with the Millionaire X international multilevel marketing company came close to the objective[1] and that, too, was the context in which Peter [and son James, headquartered in the Philippines] came into my life.

So here’s how I remember Peter:

First, he was always the straight shooter and would tell you what he thought regardless of political correctness. Note, that does not mean he lacked the social graces or sensitivity to his audience. Here’s an example: Peter would write a letter to his Member of Parliament: “Dear Distinguished Public Servant: What you’re proposing lacks any justification in law or reason. Even the slowest child can see the contradictions 1) here, 2) here, and 3) here [patiently and considerately pointing them out in plain language].” And that’s exactly what Peter would SAY if he, the official, and the Queen were sitting together at a formal state dinner.

Or, “That golf method you’re using, Brian, stands little to no chance of success.” Then, he’d spend time working with me at the practice tee in benevolent teacher mode.

As you’ll see from the ‘obit’ details—there was no formal obituary for him in the local Philippines newspapers [everything I’m publishing came from son Steve, with a few items supplied by the other two sons]—Peter had risen by his own bootstraps to considerable success in athletics and in business, after that. He was only a boy during the brunt of WW2 and the impression I had from our conversations was that life for many in the country was was of a grim and desolate nature. Peter was one of the most determined individuals I’ve ever met, literally taking the bull of hardship by the horns and beating it back with self-motivation, positive thinking, affirmations, tireless goal-directed activity, even self-hypnosis. He WILLED himself into the man he became.

He was also quick and bright, generous, with a well-hewn, natural sense of humor. He had a humble manner, yet did not suffer fools gladly. He stood up for what was right. I valued his company, got more than I gave, and was always sad to see him travel off home. We did correspond via email, and the most recent one that I never got around to answering from him was dated New Year’s Day 2019! I kept that one in my inbox all this time, pretty much by itself, with the intent to reply. I kick myself for not doing so.

I can tell you more, but he wouldn’t want me to carry on. For those who knew him, Peter was a gentleman “from sole to crown.” He always had a kind word and showed interest in what I was up to and into. I shall miss him dearly. It was a privilege to be counted among his friends. More recent photo from 2016. →

Second, the ‘official story’ (this one true)

Compiled and submitted by Steve Shanks, with brotherly input.

Peter Shanks, born on Sunday June 21, 1936 at 73a Devons Road, Bromley, East London in the U.K., learned to play golf on a small pitch and putt course located near his home on Barton Avenue in Romford, Essex. In 1950 he won the prestigious Boys Championship, 14 and under division, at the famous Moor Park Golf Club in Rickmansworth, West London. He repeated the following year in the 15 and under division. His family still has the trophies.

Shortly thereafter approaching his 16th birthday, Peter turned pro shortly before his 16th birthday in 1952. He joined Wanstead Golf Club in Essex, England as an assistant professional working for Head Golf Professional Reg Knight. He was also under the tutelage of Eddie Whitcombe, a former Ryder Cup player, along with Eddie’s famous brothers Reg and Charlie. He later became the head pro at Longcliffe Golf Club in Leicestershire.

In 1956, in the British Youth Open Championship at age 19, he finished 5th, followed in the next two years with 7th and 3rd place finishes. He qualified for the British Open the next 6 years (1958-1963), making the cut in 1959 and 1960, finishing 29th and 36th respectively. In 1960, at St. Andrews, he was placed 4th, tied with Arnold Palmer, after the first round and 8th after the second before falling back playing the last 36 holes with the defending champion, the legendary Hall of Famer, Gary Player.

Round 2, 1960 Open Leader Board, July 7 His wedding to Kathleen Platt in 1959 was covered in the Golf Illustrated magazine (Jan 22, 1959 edition) where it described him as ”one of the youngest tournament players”. He won a number of professional tournaments within the UK and was competing against, and often beating, the likes of Peter Thomson (5 time Open champion), Peter Allis, Christy O’Connor Snr, Kel Nagle, Roberto Di Vicenzo, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Gary Player and the greatest of all, a young Jack Nicklaus. He also played in European tournaments.[2]

 

In the mid-1960s he joined Wilson Sporting Goods as a salesman and progressed through the ranks to become the Sales Managing Director for the UK in the early 1970s. His job involved dealing with all of the top Wilson talent including Billy Casper, Tony Lema and the venerable Gene Saracen.

Deciding that there were opportunities to be successful himself in that business, in 1973 he founded Petron Golf Ltd., along with Ron Goodchild (PETer and RON). The company went on to produce and sell nearly 3 million golf clubs before he left the company in the late 1980s when it was sold. The name continues in use today with Petron TPX and Impala clubs being made by a Japanese company. At one point in the early 1980s  Petron was selling 25% of all clubs sold in the UK market, where they espoused a philosophy of designing clubs for higher handicap golfer as well as the elite level and a sale through club pro-only strategy that earned loyalty from those pros. Every club was available as custom made to measure at no additional cost, a first in the industry. He owned golf related companies in the U.K. and Taiwan.

The mid-1980s also saw the creation of over 30 Petron Made-To-Measure Centers which was pioneering in the golf industry. Professional fitters allowed for golfers to try different makeups of clubs under rigorous measured conditions just as one can today in the 2020s.

Later in life Peter moved to the Philippines where he continued to play golf, having regained his amateur status from the R&A, winning the Philippine Super Senior Amateur title in his mid-70s. He played his home golf at the Riviera Club on courses designed by Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer. He was over 80 when he recorded his last ace, when he had two in one round at his home course. These were the final hole in ones of a dozen.

Peter died on Saturday September 18, 2021 at his home in the Riviera Country Club outside of Manila in the Philippines with his partner Jessie and his son Seve at his side. He was 85.

[1] James was victim of ‘unanticipated negative entities’ that led to the denouement of the MX business. He is making a comeback with what he calls the “the simplest motivational MLM business ever devised.” I can’t wait… and refer to this development in my The Decollaring Book (2021). My experience is that his “personal power” literature and affirmation work are without peer, worldwide.

[2] Reference links to the golf material supplied by Steve Shanks:

Pitch & Putt – https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=b30c351a-9e1a-4c18-9d1f-79c63e2cd76d&cp=51.562358~0.164577&lvl=18&style=h&imgid=af4489c5-7277-4cbb-b3ef-6ad1adb06540&v=2&sV=2&form=S00027

Wanstead GC – https://www.wansteadgolfclub.com/

Eddie Whitcombe – Ernest Whitcombe – Wikipedia

Moor Park GC –  Moor Park Golf Club | Rickmansworth In Hertfordshire (moorparkgc.co.uk)

Longcliffe GC – Longcliffe Golf Club – One of the premier golf courses in the East Midlands, with its favoured location on the lower slopes of t

This post has been read 429 times!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *