Mike Borissow - Press Gazette

Mike Borissow

Mike Borissow was one of those rare people who actually realised his big dream – twice! He built and owned his own golf course and he retired to Portugal.

Certainly, golf always figured very high on any Borissow agenda in his 72 years, but to think of him only in terms of his love for golf is to diminish Mike as a journalist: an imaginative hard-news man who was very, very persistent.

His self-belief was evident from his very early days when he gave up his job on the Portsmouth Evening News and started a freelance agency in the area.

After stints on the staff of the Daily Sketch and Daily Mail he decided there was an opportunity not to be missed in the West Country and he started Devon News. After a couple of years he sold up and moved to Kent to launch another successful agency at Maidstone covering the Thanet area.

It was in the late Sixties that he first set eyes on a run-down 100-acre farm at Cranbrook and shook hands with the farmer after agreeing a £5 option to buy, on condition that he got planning permission to turn it into a golf course.

Mike sold the agency and returned to the Sketch as night news editor; a position he retained when the Mail and Sketch merged. And he spent every Saturday night on the Sunday Mirror news desk, to help pay the wages of the men on the course.

After a few years of this exhausting regime, Mike set about achieving his second ambition and gave up his Fleet Street jobs to concentrate on the course full-time with the long-term aim of selling it as a thriving business and retiring to Portugal.

Bing Crosby was about to become the new owner when he died on a holiday in Spain in 1977 two days after making a tacit agreement with Mike during a memorable round at Cranbrook.

However, Mike finally found a buyer and he and Maggie set off for Vale Do Lobo in the early Eighties where they were to prove genial hosts to various overseas trips of the Press Golfing Society, of which he was a life vice-president and a past captain.

The funeral is at Worthing Crematorium on Friday, 8 February. For details, ring the eldest of Mike’s five children, Michael, on 01273 834000.

Monty Court