Eric Cremin: Bio of the Australian Golfer

Golfer Eric Cremin swings a driver in 1945

Eric Cremin was an Australian golfer, noted for his great putting, who played and won pro tournaments from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was one of the top Australian golfers in the immediate post-World War II years, but rarely played outside of his home country. Cremin was later known as a top teacher who helped young pros, and for playing a role in the development of the first Asian pro golf tour.

Full name: Eric James Cremin

Date of birth: June 15, 1914

Place of birth: Mascot, New South Wales, Australia

Date and place of birth: December 29, 1973 in Singapore

Cremin's Biggest Wins

  • 1937 Australian PGA Championship
  • 1937 New South Wales PGA
  • 1938 Australian PGA Championship
  • 1938 New South Wales PGA
  • 1946 Queensland Open
  • 1946 Victorian PGA Championship
  • 1947 New South Wales PGA
  • 1947 Victorian PGA Championship
  • 1948 Queensland Open
  • 1949 Australian Open
  • 1949 New South Wales Close
  • 1949 Victorian PGA Championship
  • 1949 Western Australia Open
  • 1949 Lakes Open
  • 1950 New South Wales Close
  • 1950 Queensland Open
  • 1950 Adelaide Advertiser Tournament
  • 1950 McWilliam's Wines Tournament
  • 1950 New South Wales PGA
  • 1950 Lakes Open
  • 1951 Adelaide Advertiser Tournament
  • 1953 Lakes Open
  • 1954 New South Wales PGA
  • 1954 Western Australia Open
  • 1955 Ampol Tournament
  • 1956 Queensland Open
  • 1957 Queensland Open
  • 1960 Adelaide Advertiser Tournament

In the Majors

Cremin rarely played tournaments outside of Australia. Case in point: He played in only one major championship. Not one of the four majors, but just one major tournament, period: the 1951 British Open. But he did well in that one major, finishing in 16th place.

More About Eric Cremin

Peter Alliss once wrote that Cremin "was one of three early players — Ossie Pickworth and Norman Von Nida were the others — who set Australia firmly on the golfing map."

The roadmap for Cremin began at age 14 when he quit school to work full-time as a caddie at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney. Members there chipped in to gift Cremin a set of clubs. By 1935, when he was 21, he had become an assistant pro at the club, and two years after that began playing pro tournaments.

He got off to an auspicious start. In 1937 he won both the New South Wales PGA Championship and the Australian PGA Championship. In 1938, he did that double again. Cremin remains the only golfer to win both of those tournaments in back-to-back years.

It was eight years before he won again, because of World War II. Cremin was in his mid-20s when his war service began, in his early 30s when he finally got back to golf. But after the war, Cremin's tournament career really took off.

He won twice in 1946, twice in 1947, once in 1948, but then five times in 1949 and six times in 1950. The biggest win of his career was at the 1949 Australian Open. Cremin trailed Pickworth by six strokes entering the final round, then shot 68 to Pickworth's 80. Pickworth was disqualified after the round, making Von Nida the runner-up, a distant seven strokes back of Cremin.

After Cremin won those two Australian PGA titles in 1937-38, that tournament became a source of great frustration. From 1946 to 1962, Cremin reached the championship match (it was match play during those years) seven times, but lost all seven of those finals. Three of those losses were to Von Nida, one was to Pickworth and one was Kel Nagle, so one can certainly say it took top opponents to beat him.

In all, 24 of Cremin's 28 victories were post-war. Those included the Lakes Open three times (1949, 1950, 1953) and the Queensland Open twice (1956-57). He won the New South Wales PGA a total of five times, last in 1955.

His last tournament win was at the 1960 Adelaide Advertiser Tournament. (Cremin won that tournament three times and was runner-up in it four times.) That year Cremin left the professional job at Roseville Golf Club (which he held since 1955) in Sydney and took over as pro at the Valley Golf Club in Manila, Philippines.

Cremin began traveling through Asia conducting clinics, and by this point had developed a reputation as a top golf instructor. According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography (affiliate link), Cremin "numbered kings, presidents and prime ministers among his pupils."

The connections Cremin developed across the Asian golf world indirectly led to the creation of the first professional tour based in Asia. In 1959, many Australian golfers were traveling to play the Philippines Open. A Welsh golfer, Kim Hall, who was a member of the Hong Kong Golf Club, contacted Cremin to ask if the Aussies could play a second tournament on the trip. The Hong Kong Open was established as the fruit of those conversations, becoming the anchor of the Far East Circuit (later known as the Asia Golf Circuit and the pre-eminent Asian golf tour until the creation of today's Asian Tour in 1994).

In 1971, Cremin became pro at Singapore Island Country Club.

Cremin was also known for helping young Australian pros. One of those, David Graham, eventually made it into the World Golf Hall of Fame, a career that took off after Cremin met Graham during an exhibition and brought him to Sydney. Several pages of the biography David Graham: From Ridicule to Acclaim (affiliate links) are dedicated to his relationship with Cremin.

Cremin also wrote about golf, including columns for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. His first instructional book, Par Golf, was published in 1952. How to Play Golf was published in 1972.

On December 29, 1973, Cremin was on the first tee of the Sine Road Golf Club in Singapore, about to tee off a friendly round, when he suffered a heart attack and died. He was 59 years old.

Photo credit: Eric Cremin - Golf, 26 November 1945 / Photographed by Alec Iverson, 26. Via Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Courtesy ACP Magazines Ltd.

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