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From Golf Course To Ambulance, Passions Vary For Malcolm McLachlan

Published: December 23, 2017

Malcolm McLachlan, a longtime resident of Newtown who now resides in Southbury, was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame on December 7 — a prestigious honor for someone has played a big role in the golf world both for the Connecticut State Golf Association (CSGA) and United States Golf Association (USGA).

Golf has long been a passion for him and something in which his family has strong ties, dating back to the founding of Danbury’s Ridgewood Country Club, back in 1920.

Mr McLachlan served as director of rules and competitions with the CSGA for 14 years before retiring in 2014. His service to the CSGA began in 1990 as a member of the CSGA executive committee. During his time on the executive committee he served as second vice president, vice president for club relations, and vice president for competitions. Throughout his career he has served as the official in charge at hundreds of CSGA tournaments and USGA qualifiers, and has been widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the rules of golf in the northeast.  
Mr McLachlan continues to volunteer as a rules official for the USGA and CSGA, and runs a small handful of CSGA tournaments each year.

In an article on the CSGA website, csgalinks.org, Malcolm McLachlan Announces Retirement from CSGA, Mr McLachlan is spoken of in high regard by CSGA officials:

“Malcolm is one of the best Rules men I’ve ever known,” said CSGA Executive Director, Mike Moraghan. “It is rare to find someone with his level of knowledge and experience, and his contributions to the CSGA have been monumental for many years.”

CSGA President John Marion said, “Malcolm has been a very good example to many aspiring Rules’ officials. He is always willing to share his knowledge of the Rules with those who share his passion, and he has helped develop many of the officials we now have with the CSGA.”

Golf is in his genes. Mr McLachlan’s father, George, was president of the Connecticut State Golf Association in 1950. The McLachlan family was on of three that founded Ridgewood, a club where Mr McLachlan won a junior championship when he was approximately 10 years old, and won multiple senior championships.

Fittingly, the Hall of Fame induction was held at the CSGA’s annual meeting which, this year, was held at Ridgewood.

“It really was special,” Mr McLachlan said.

Mr McLachlan was an amateur golfer who competed in tournaments up and down the east coast, and in Bermuda, for many years. A 3 handicap golfer for 40 years, Mr McLachlan continues to take out the clubs for fun.

“I just enjoy being with the people. You get to know people quite well playing with them,” he said of being on the fairways and greens.

Ambulance Association Volunteer

His current connection with Newtown is, in large part, through another passion in which his family also has ties. When he is not on the golf course for a round, or serving on the rules committees for the CGA and USGA, he plays the role of president of the trustees of the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association, Inc. His family has been involved with the ambulance association since 1950, Mr McLachlan noted.

He still has a strong link to town not only through his work with the ambulance association, but because Mr McLachlan has family — including children and grandchildren — in Newtown.

“I like Newtown. I always have loved it,” said Mr McLachlan, 74, who grew up here, and has spent a big part of his life in town. He moved to Southbury 12 years ago.

Mr McLachlan fondly recalls growing up on The Boulevard, where plenty of farm land surrounded him. His brother, George, was the first police commissioner back in the late 1960s or early ’70s, he said.

He and his wife, Nancy, an EMT with the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association, have three daughters. Bonnie and Jeff Zahansky and Megan and Peter McLean live in town; Katie Smith resides in Vermont.

Mr McLachlan worked in insurance in Newtown, running the McLachlan Agency for 38 years, and he gets satisfaction out of volunteering his time here now.

He served on the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association Board of Trustees, including as president, for more than a decade, beginning in the early 1990s before stepping away for about ten years. Mr McLachlan rejoined the board without expecting to be named president, but ended up resuming that role this past April. He describes the role as being night and day when comparing his two tenures, saying the Ambulance Association has grown significantly in recent years.

“[The Ambulance Association] manages money, raises money, and pays the bills so the EMTs can go out and do their thing for the people of Newtown,” said Mr McLachlan, adding that there are 2,500 ambulance calls every year.

“It’s nice to be able to give back to the town,” Mr McLachlan said of his work with the Ambulance Association.

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