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28th Australian Hickory Shaft Open Championships

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28th Australian Hickory Shaft Open Championship – Melbourne 2023 – Event Report 

 Playing group before hitting off at Woodlands GC

The 28th playing of the Australian Hickory Shaft Championship was recently played on Melbourne’s world-renowned Sandbelt courses. The courses were set up for hickory play and although the clubs are 100 + years old the winning scores were surprisingly low.

Hickory players from around Australia, as well as, for the first time, contingents from New Zealand and Japan, competed for the Championship and handicap trophies.

The new Sandy Golf Links course hosted the Foursomes on Day 1. The weather was superb, and the course was in excellent condition. There were some fine scores and an excellent score of 72 was posted.  New Zealanders Catherine Palmer and Mark Lawson took home the trophy. Runners up were Mike Clayton & Terry Thornton with a 76.

Darryn Watt & Andrew Baker won the handicap section with Nett 70.6.

Foursome’s winners Catherine Palmer & Mark Lawson flanked by handicap winners Darryn Watt & Andrew Baker.

The main Championship event is played over 36 holes with Round One at Woodlands GC and the final round at Kingston Heath GC. The hickory clubs used in the event would have been similar to the clubs used by the founding fathers of both courses, which were established in the mid 1920’s.

Woodlands presented the course in immaculate condition; however, the weather was not kind with wind and some rain. This did not deter the players who braved the conditions, some recording excellent scores.

The highlight of the day was the after-dinner guest speakers. Australian PGA CEO, Gavin Kirkman spoke of the history, his recent experiences and future development of the PGA. Bruce Green, PGA Life Member, and long-term professional at Royal Melbourne followed  and was thoroughly entertaining as he took us through his colourful career.

The early start for the final round at Kingston Heath was bleak, cold, and wet, but as one player noted “these are the conditions they play in all the time in Scotland!!” and nothing could deter playing on one of the world’s best courses.

A superb second round of 74 by Richard Macafee gave him a record low of 148, to secure the Men’s Championship trophy over NSW’s Tim Sayers on 162.

Richard, a long-time member of Kingston Heath, has a fast-growing passion for hickory golf. “I finally got my own hickories, and to play with my own set was unbelievable… I’ll be doing it a lot more now”, he said.

In the Women’s Championship, the first day at Woodlands was New Zealand’s Catherine Palmer’s first full round with hickory clubs, but she didn’t let that stop her from taking out the title with an impressive score of 169. She commented “back home in Christchurch, I’d just been playing nine holes, and these fast and firm courses, made it a lot more challenging,”

Champions Richard Macafee and Catherine Palmer 

The handicap section was a close contest between Golf Society members with Justin Ryan on 154 edging out Mango Maguire on 155.

Handicap winner Justin Ryan with Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland

The inaugural Asia Pacific Hickory Championship, sponsored by the US’s Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG) was played in conjunction with the Australian event, with Richard and Catherine are now also the Asia Pacific Hickory Champions. Australia won the Teams event.

SoHG’s President Joe Hollerbach sent a congratulatory message and his summary “may your hickory golf journeys be filled with continued joy, camaraderie and excellence” really summed up the occasion.

Most of the Internationals struggled a little with the close-cut fairways and firm fast greens, but all had terrific experiences. Off course they visited Australia’s best shop for hickories at Ormond hosted by the owner, Ross Baker, the most knowledgeable person in Australia on hickories. The Japanese contingent went mad and most bought a couple of sets, seems they can’t get originals in Japan only replicas. The Kiwi’s secured some Australian clubs – they claim they were returning them home as like many things originated in New Zealand… a standing joke!!

The week marked another successful event organised by Australian Golf Heritage Society and the Golf Society of Australia, alongside the Society of Hickory Golfers, who continue to celebrate golf’s origins and rich tradition.

Other photos

Foursomes group on first tee 

Above -Justin Ryan/Richard Macafee, Terry Thornton/Mike Clayton, Catherine Palmer (her caddie)/Mark Lawson

New Zealand Team

The Japanese Team

Below – Asia Pacific Hickory Champions Catherine Palmer, Richard Macafee with James Sutherland

More photos from the event can be found in the Gallery section.

https://golfsocietyaust.com/wp-content/uploads/Australian-Hickory-Shaft-Championship-report-Sept-2023.pdf

 

Golf Historians forum – Monday 20 November Latrobe GC

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Latrobe Golf Club is one of three Melbourne clubs celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023, and a group of GSA members and guests enjoyed a fascinating history forum at its Alphington clubhouse in late November.

The club has updated its history book  ‘Riverside Masterstroke’

Thanks to the hard work of club members Paul Robinson, June Senyard, Brendan Mathews and the late and much-missed Murray Cropley. These four dedicated members added to the earlier history written by former champion player and member Garry Mansfield.

Those at the forum heard the fascinating story of how the club has developed on a 19th century estate once known as ‘Lucerne Farm’

established by early settler Thomas Wills. A grand oak tree planted in 1842 by daughter Kate Wills still spreads its stately boughs beside the 7th green. Known as the Noble Oak, it is the club’s emblem.

 

Brendan Mathews and Paul Robinson told the forum guests about Latrobe’s evolution from buying a 9-hole public golf course on the old estate, expanding to 18 holes and even developing a 5-hole short course called ‘The Island’ on land surrounded by a loop of the Yarra River between Latrobe and neighbouring Green Acres GC. It opened just a year ago.

 

They pointed out the site at the top of the clubhouse carpark of the rundown Lucerne mansion which was demolished by Whelan The Wrecker in the 1960s. They proudly described the clubhouse as a social melting pot popular with sporting and racing identities. One former member was a noted SP bookie, and there is a theory that the Great Bookie Robbery might have been hatched in the front bar by shady characters overhearing talk of large amounts of bookies’ cash at the Victoria Club.

 

GSA member Peter Stickley was a special guest at the forum, and told of being a young assistant pro at Latrobe in 1958-59 under club pro Stan MacGeorge. Stickley used to ride his bike to work from Balwyn to Alphington and had fond memories of his kindly boss. Peter brought a group of historic clubs to display at the forum and explained how he restores old hickory and steel implements. He also donated to Latrobe a left-handed driver stamped with Stan MacGeorge’s name.

After the forum, 10 players enjoyed 9 holes of hickory golf around the picturesque front nine.

 

Peter Stickley joined the hickory group.

 

The Noble Oak tree       

Brendan Mathews and Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson with Secretary Stella Cugley and President Kim Hastie

Doug Bachli Trophy and AGM – Monday 13 November 2023

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Annual Meeting Day report – November 13th at Victoria Golf Club.

The day began with players competing for the Doug Bachli Trophy, named in honour of the founding president and life member of the Society and champion amateur golfer.

30 players teed off in delightful afternoon weather, although increasing winds and firm, sanded greens challenged the field. The Trophy (and men’s winner) went to Justin Ryan with 36 points. Men’s runner-up was Andrew Clifford. Women’s winner was Wendy Pullar, with Jenny Picking runner-up.

The AGM was attended by 31 members and saw some changes in the committee personnel. Morag North retired after serving the maximum of 6 years on committee, and President Kim Hastie and all members thanked Morag for all her untiring work. Ian Rowell also retired from committee after a number of years sharing his history skills. Grant Nicholson was elected to join the committee, and his expertise with the collection’s software Mosaic will be greatly appreciated.

The meeting also elected past president Graeme Ryan as a Life Member of the Society. Kim Hastie outlined Graeme’s achievements since joining the society in 2009, in particular his work with Golf Australia which has led to GA annually funding the collections curation work; forming strong relationships with golf history groups in other Australian states and internationally; and introducing a Young Member category to try to ensure the society’s longevity. He was elected unanimously as a life member, and Graeme thanked all for the significant honour. “I shall wear it with pride”

Following the meeting members enjoyed the traditional end of year Cocktail Party.

DBT winner Justin Ryan with President Kim Hastie

Womens winner Wendy Pullar

President Kim with Morag North

Dinner – Huntingdale Golf Club – Tuesday 26 September 2023

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Our guest speaker for our final dinner for the year was Melbourne based golf course photographer and GSA member Gary Lisbon.

Well known around the world for his photography…Gary has travelled for almost two decades capturing images of the world’s best golf courses for golf clubs and industry publications. Gary has visited and photographed over 685 courses in 26 countries (and counting) and his passion for the game is evident with his spectacular and enduring images. 

A 13-week trip in 2022 saw Gary visit and photograph 89 courses culminating in his just released “Great Golf Courses of the World” coffee table book. Gary spoke his spectacular journey, highlighting some of the other places he has visited and the successes and challenges of capturing images where weather is constantly changing. 

 Members and guests had thoroughly entertaining evening hearing from Gary whilst enjoying his many superb images of courses from all over the world.

                                    Please enjoy this report put together by John Trevorrow

Gary has photographed more than 685 courses in 26 countries, and many of his stunning images are the work of his camera drone, which he is licensed to fly in Australia, New Zealand and EU countries.

He revealed that the magic time of day for him is a 45-minute window each morning and evening when the sun is low in the sky and the softer light highlights the terrain and saturates the colours that all golfers know and love.

Gary has just produced a sumptuous new coffee table book ‘Great Golf Courses of the World’ after a 13-week trip through 89 golf courses in nine countries in the UK, Scandinavia, Europe, and other exotic places.

He showed many of the images as he told the back-story of capturing his beautiful images, including capturing the northern lights at midnight as they shimmered over Lofoten Links, a spectacular private golf course built on the coast of a remote peninsula in northern Norway.

Gary also quizzed the 68 people in the audience, which included Huntingdale’s president Malcolm Hutson and GM Alex McGillivray, by showing images from courses around the globe and asking who could name the venue. The well-travelled audience got all of them, except Norway’s faraway Lofoten Links.

This was the GSA’s third dinner for 2023, and the audience was also delighted to see Gary’s wonderful images of Royal Melbourne GC with the CBD towers in the background complete with hot air balloons, plus an aerial study of the 8th/10th green complex at Huntingdale.

The evening also had a delightful surprise element when relatives of Huntingdale legend Burtta Cheney MBE donated several items linked to the great champion golfer, administrator, teacher and inspiration to women golfers for generations. Her nephew David Cheney donated Burtta’s MBE medal and original MBE certificate signed by Queen Elizabeth, awarded in 1976 for services to the Australian and Victorian Ladies Golf Unions. David also donated Burtta’s Women’s Golf Victoria award of excellence bestowed in 2010 for her lifetime contribution to women’s golf in Victoria. Burtta was a founding member, life member and second president of the Golf Society, and these three precious items were donated to the GA/GSA heritage collection.

David Cheney also donated to Huntingdale GC an old Life Member board – which incorporated a framed mirror – bearing Burtta Cheney’s name from when she was the first and only Huntingdale associate to be honoured by her club as a life member, back in 1968. The board was found in a Melbourne antiques shop by a friend of David, and it is now back at the club where it belongs.

To see more of Gary Lisbon’s work, go to www.greatgolfcoursesoftheworld.com

 

Dinner guest speaker Gary Lisbon with President Kim Hastie

President Kim Hastie with David Cheney 

David Cheney with HGC President Malcolm Hutson

David Cheney with HGC President Malcolm Hutson

                                                                                                                                                                         

Art Exhibition – Andrew Thomson – The Art of Golf

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  The Art of Golf       Member Andrew Thomson invites you to an exhibition of his paintings with a golf theme 

                                    Date: Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September 2023

                                                            10 am ~ 6pm

                              Venue: Thomson Room, Australian Golf Centre 

                                                  Cheltenham Road, Cheltenham

For more details click the link below

https://golfsocietyaust.com/wp-content/uploads/Exhibition-The-Art-of-Golf-Andrew-Thomson.pdf

20% of the proceeds of any sales will be donated to the Golf Society of Australia for the purpose of maintaining and upgrading its historical collection.

 

Presidents Trophy – Royal Melbourne GC – Monday 24 July

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The President’s Trophy was run and won, on a mild winter’s day at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, making a nice change for the players as the past two years were played in rain drenched conditions.

Our popular competition with the condition of a 7-club limit, starts with a nine-hole handicap stroke round with the top four Nett scores progressing to sudden death match play to determine the winner.

The finalists were Bernie Ryan and past winner David Worley, with Bernie winning their first hole, making a solid 4.

Hover over image to see captions

Don Lawrence Trophy – Monday 13 May

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 The first major golfing event for 2023 was held at Spring Valley golf club on Monday 15th May.  A field of 31 players lined up for this prestigious 4BBB Stableford event celebrating the enormous life of journalist Don Lawrence who was a major voice in promoting golf through his regular newspaper column. By any standards the impact his words had on both contemporary and emerging golfers who looked most forward to his previews and reviews of tournaments and in particular pennant golf was outstanding. His legacy extended into the GSA where he served as President from 1992-94.

Leading up to the event there was much apprehension as to what the weather would bring.  High rainfall during April and early May (some 200mm) along with significant decreases in temperature were potentially awaiting us again.  However, the players were greeted with sunshine, light wind and warm weather making the course vulnerable that was clearly reflected by some in the scoring.  Included in the field was our current President Kim Hastie and life member Dick Kirby, he also being a life member of Spring Valley Golf club.

So, onto the golf!!

The golf course (a Vern Morcom gem) was set up to allow good scoring and presented in excellent condition.  At 12:30 our field of competitors took to the course for a multi-tee start.

Following the golf players enjoyed snacks and drinks in the club house where the presentations revealed the winners of the Don Lawrence trophy, runner’s up, best front and back nines, longest drive and nearest the pin.  Additionally, the GSA provided a prize for the best member/non-member combination. The competition was very close with the major trophy only being decided on a count back.

And the winners were:

  • Don Lawrence trophy: Jenny Picking and David Rew C/B
  • Runner’s up: Jamie Holland and Dean Mottram
  • Member/non-member: Peter Crowe and Travis Cox
  • Best front nine: Jamie Holland and Dean Mottram
  • Best back nine: Jenny Picking and David Rew
  • Long drive: Men: Dean Mottram   Women: Stella Cugley
  • Nearest the pin 3rd hole: Men: Bruce Sutherland   Women: Stella Cugley
  • Nearest the pin 10th hole: Men: John Scheffer  Women: Jenny Picking

Congratulations to all the winners and all who competed.  While the competition is exciting it is the coming together and sharing each other’s company that is important.

A big shout out to our Secretary Stella Cugley whose organisation was simply the best.  Thank you to Spring Valley Golf Club for a wonderful day enjoyed by all (based on some very flattering and positive feedback) and to Superintendent Craig Anthony (ex-Royal Melbourne) and his team who continue to improve the layout and condition pf the course.

We look forward to catching up with everyone again our future events.

 

 

Dinner – Kingston Heath GC – Monday 26 June

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Dinner at Kingston Heath Golf Club ……..Tales of a Volunteer

Our speaker was Golf Society member Peter Bellion APM, a retired Detective Sergeant with Victorian Police serving many years with the Major Collision Investigative Unit, a golfer for 47 years, and a member of Huntingdale Golf Club.

Peter is, however, most proud of his work as a long-time and dedicated volunteer and is an example of how volunteers play a key role in the success of both professional and community organisations. Peter will share with us his volunteering journey including his experiences at Golf Tournaments and with Life Saving Victoria.

Thanks to John Trevorrow for this report-

The second GSA dinner for the year was held in late June, 50 members and guests heard a moving presentation from Peter Bellion, APM.

Peter is a GSA member and is recently retired from serving many years with Victoria Police as a detective sergeant. Much of his service was in the Major Collision Investigation Unit, where Peter came into contact with the results of road trauma.

Peter has been a golfer for 47 years, and is a former captain and board member at Huntingdale GC, where he plays as often as family duties allow.

His talk was titled ‘Tales of a Volunteer’ and he entertained the audience with anecdotes and reminiscences about his many years of volunteering at Victorian golf tournaments and with Life Saving Victoria. Tales of his years with Victoria Police underscored the shared responsibility we all have to drive as carefully as possible on the roads.

Peter is a member and volunteer at Port Melbourne Lifesaving Club. He revealed that club membership across lifesaving is approximately 50/50 men and women, noted that this is in contrast to private golf clubs, where women membership typically hovers between 20 and 30 per cent.

A major theme of Peter’s talk revolved around the important contribution that volunteers make to our society, in whatever capacity they serve. “Without volunteers and volunteering, a lot of things just wouldn’t happen, and our communities would be the poorer for it,” he said.

And the benefits for the volunteers themselves are just as important, with social engagement being such a vital thing for good mental health and personal wellbeing.

The dinner was held at Kingston Heath GC, and the member and guests once again enjoyed the excellent food and service at this historic club.

Peter Bellion with President Kim Hastie

Peter Bellion with 2018 World Cup of Golf Volunteer Co Chairs Kim Hastie & Vicki Van der Venne – Metropolitan Golf Club