1943 – 2021

Kenny was born in Kames and enjoyed his early years in Tighnabruaich by the sea where he was able to spend lots of time fishing, sailing and of course playing shinty with his young friends and his two older brothers, Ackie and Donnie.

The family moved to Glasgow when Kenny was 11 years old. Their father, who had been in the Merchant Navy, was now to skipper puffers around the UK. During school holidays Kenny loved to join his father on a puffer. In Glasgow Kenny developed into a very good footballer and was not lacking ability on the golf course either. As one of his primary school classmates remarked recently   “Kenny was one of those people who were good at anything they tried.”

Golf was to provide Kenny’s career. On leaving school he went to work at Williamwood Golf Club, the start of an impressive and varied life in golf course management. At age 23 he was the youngest Head Greenkeeper in Scotland having been appointed at the Old Ranfurly Course, Bridge of Weir. His career was to mean interesting times for Linda and their children, Graeme, Ian and Kirsty. The family first went to the south of England, which was followed by two spells in Germany. His remit would include creating and running golf courses and his experience was still in demand as a consultant after his return to Scotland.

Kenny did not have the opportunity to play much shinty in his early teens following the family move to Glasgow but his natural athleticism, which helped him excel at school football, and then golf, prepared him well for his return to his first love shinty when he joined his brother Donnie at GMA. He quickly developed into a highly skilled and supremely fit shinty player admired and respected by all, particularly team members who enjoyed playing with him and were always aware of the high standards he set for them to aspire to. Highlights of an outstanding shinty career include being awarded the Albert Smith Medal on GMA’s greatest day in 1973 when the team won the Camanachd Cup. He played for Scotland on five occasions, captaining the team in 1978, and with GMA won five Glasgow Celtic Society medals.

John Mackenzie, Chief of the Camanachd Association, was a teammate of Kenny’s in the Internationals against Ireland and they became great friends. “Next to the Camanachd Cup, Shinty Hurling in the 70’s was probably the highlight of our playing careers and my friendship with Kenny both as a person and teammate was cemented during this period. Kenny was up there with the very best of shinty players and will be fondly remembered as a sporting colleague, great personality, and friend to all who knew him”. John’s support was greatly appreciated by Linda when Kenny was diagnosed with dementia.

Rab MacMillan was a GMA teammate of Kenny’s for longer than most but his earliest encounter with Kenny was as a young player with Bute against GMA. Kenny and his brother Donnie were the outstanding GMA players that day and Rab recalls being annoyed by the brothers continually talking to the Bute players as they took the ball away from them! When work took Rab away from Bute he joined GMA and immediately knew it was better playing with Kenny, rather than against him! With a mutual interest in golf, Rab and Kenny were great friends. When at Old Ranfurly, Kenny would encourage his assistants to play shinty during the lunch break. One of them, John Kinder, went on to enjoy playing a couple of seasons with GMA.

Kenny’s shinty/golf legacy continues with his son Graeme, also a golf course specialist, who works for the DP World Tour and regularly catches up with current Scotland golfing star Robert MacIntyre on the international golf circuit. Robert is sometimes accompanied by his father Dougie, who like his grandfather, also Dougie, regularly played shinty against Kenny. This ensures shinty talk even in far off golf courses which would make Kenny smile!