HEARTFELT tributes have been paid after a local golf scene legend who rubbed shoulders with greats Arnold Palmer and Gary Player passed away.

George Jenkinson, 83, who was a member at Whinhill for more than 70 years, died after a brave battle against cancer.

His beloved club has paid a touching tribute to the 'gentleman golfer' who was honorary president, past captain and past champion of the club.

The club said: "The word legend may be overused however George was certainly a Whinhill legend.

"As a man he was a proper gentleman, a hugely respected figure at the club whose knowledge was sought by many.

"He was a cornerstone helping in the running of the club in seven separate decades.

"George was a very good golfer all his days - regularly scoring under his age throughout the last decade.

"His golfing longevity was summed up by the 34-year spell between his club championship win in 1966 and his last appearance in the final in 2000.

"He continued to compete and qualify in the 36-hole club championship qualifier until he was in his 80s."

George's heartbroken wife Irene, who was brought up in Lynedoch Street, is still trying to come to terms with her loss.

She said: "We were married for 43 years.

"George was my soulmate."

Mr Jenkinson became unwell in October and until then had been playing golf twice a week and swimming every week.

Irene said: "It happened so rapidly, within six months.

"We were told his illness was terminal in February and he died three months later."

She said George was a very popular man who would have helped anybody.

Irene told the Telegraph: "He was respected so much and helped so many people in golf.

"So many professionals have said that if it hadn't been for George, they wouldn't have got so far.

"He taught them so much about golf, and about life."

George, who hailed from Dunlop Street, joined the Scots Guards at the age of 16 and later received the Suez Canal Medal for his service.

He was manager at Hector McNeil Baths in Barchelston Street after starting there as a pool attendant, but his first love was golf.

Even when he moved to take up a post at the Dollan Baths in East Kilbride, he remained a member of Whinhill and took advantage of early retirement to play even more rounds.

Irene said: "He played in all the senior competitions and the senior tournament in Royal Lytham in the same competition as Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

"His heart was always at Whinhill and he used to go there as often as he could."

The couple's favourite bolthole was Turnberry and they would visit the hotel three to four times a year.

She said: "We'd been going to Turnberry for 20 years and got to know all the staff as friends.

"We used to stay in the Norman Suite for special occasions, birthdays and anniversaries, and staff would put on a buffet for the room and we'd invite our friends down.

"When George was diagnosed in February we went down to Turnberry for a long weekend.

"I knew it was going to be the last time.

"The hotel had a Bentley on loan from a garage for the week and they told us it was at our disposal.

"Everyone was so kind, it was so sad when we were leaving."

The pair even met new owner Donald Trump, before he became US President, during one of their many happy stays.

Irene said: "He shook George's hand and George told him he liked the way it used to be and Donald Trump said 'well if you liked it then, you will like what I'm going to do'.

"George quipped back 'but will I like the prices?' and he just laughed."

"That was George - quick-quitted and always ready with a joke."