It is with great sadness I advise the passing of Robert (Bob) Wade OAM on Tuesday 30 January 2024
Well known to us all, Bob was a distinguished watercolour artist with international acclaim. His incredible portfolio of work is enjoyed all over the world, either through books,exhibitions,teachings, his own social media page, and the countless clubhouses around the globe that have a Bob Wade hanging somewhere.
He was a longtime member of the Society and 71-year member of the Metropolitan Golf Club along with other clubs.
Bob contributed to the Society’s activities in several ways either as a guest speaker at our dinners, presenting at Historian’s forum or writing an article for the Long Game newsletter.
The Society is fortunate to have on file an interview that Bob did with Society members Brendan Moloney and Virginia Gorrell in 2012
We are grateful to Brendan and Virgina for providing the text, it is a wonderful read and tells us so much about the legendary man.
Bob touched our lives in many ways, and we will acknowledge and celebrate his accomplished rich life in the next Long Game… till then we remember Bob with great affection and will always have his beautiful art to enjoy.
A true gentleman who will be much missed
Our thoughts are with his extended family
Kim Hastie President
A memorial service to celebrates Bob’s life will be held on Tuesday 27th February at the Victorian Artists Society in East Melbourne
To attend you must register, the details for this can be found on Bob’s Facebook page.
A link to live stream of the service can be found on the same site.
The Society held its first dinner for the year at The Metropolitan Golf Club – Monday 19 February
Our guest speaker was Dr Joshua Ralston, who is in Melbourne on a three-month lecturing position at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Ralston is a professor of religion and politics at the University of Edinburgh with a focus on the interactions between the Middle East and the West.
He has written or edited four books on themes such as religious diversity in Europe, populism and religion, and Christian-Muslim relations. He’s currently writing on how sport helps us understand the transformation of Saudi Arabia and modern global politics.
Dr Ralston is an avid golfer and a member at North Berwick Golf Club, Scotland. He has already managed several games on the Sandbelt since his arrival at the beginning of January.
The title of his topic was “The Politics of Golf: Saudi Arabia and the transformation of professional golf.”
Joshua’s talk was enlightening and very entertaining and we are grateful to him for giving up his leisure time.
We also give thanks to Michael Clayton who assisted us in securing Joshua as our dinner speaker.
To read more about this wonderful evening ..please see John Trevorrow’s report.
Report on Dr Joshua Ralston’s talk to at Golf Society dinner at Metropolitan GC, 19thFebruary.
Have you ever wondered why the rulers of Saudi Arabia have spent billions of their petro-dollars buying into international golf by creating and funding the LIV Golf League?
The answer, according to academic Dr Joshua Ralston, is deeper than the common assumption that the authoritarian Saudi regime simply wants to ‘sports wash’ its dubious international reputation for human rights.
Dr Ralston is from California, and a late convert to golf and member at North Berwick Golf Club in Scotland. He is an associate professor of religion and politics at the University of Edinburgh and has written studies on religious diversity in Europe, populism and religion, and Christian-Muslim relations. Dr Ralston is currently a visiting scholar at Trinity College, University of Melbourne and was guest speaker in February at Metropolitan Golf Club for the Golf Society’s first dinner of the year. His talk, titled “Saudi Arabia and the politics of golf”, drew a packed house of 138 GSA members and guests.
His view is that Muhammad bin Salman al Saud, the crown prince and Prime Minister who is the probable next King of Saudi Arabia, is aiming to diversify his nation’s future from reliance on oil and gas to broader economic interests. Sport, including top-level soccer and golf, is among his targets.
Dr Ralston laid out three essential reasons he believes are behind the Saudis’ investment of more than $3billion so far on LIV Golf, which this year will play its second Australian tournament in Adelaide.
The Saudi regime wants to transition its society, build new economic hubs, and attract wealthy and influential foreign investors. Golf is one of the ways of doing that. It is also a sport that is appropriate within Saudi culture because it can be played together by men and women in culturally acceptable ways.
Saudi Arabia is playing catch-up against its more international neighbours Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia already contains the two most important sites for Islam — Mecca and Medina — and LIV Golf gives them another chance to increase their reputation and influence within the Middle-East region. “Why buy a team when you can buy a whole sport? LIV Golf helps to set the Saudis apart in their regional rivalry,” said Dr Ralston.
Golf is a mid-range sport compared to soccer and basketball, he says, but is a very rich sport. Fortune-100 companies and executives are involved in golf, and the game also gives unique opportunities to build personal relationships on the golf course with important and influential people. It gives the Saudis a key foothold in international connections.
“LIV Golf is part of a broader group of aims for the Saudis to make themselves indispensable both economically and globally,” Dr Ralston says. Finally, he pointed out that western nations have for more than 70 years made a “Faustian bargain” by dealing economically and militarily with Saudi Arabia while not looking at what the Kingdom does in terms of women’s rights, human rights and authoritarian behaviour.
Golf gives us a window into our morally complicated world, he says. Understanding and respecting different cultures is vitally important to global understanding and international relationships, but so too is holding fast to values of justice and human dignity.
Dr Ralston’s timely talk was enthusiastically received by the diverse and influential crowd. The audience included board members from a number of golf clubs, Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland, many key people from Metropolitan GC, and a large number of guests. Two old friends with a combined 150 years of playing golf were also there. Metro’s legendary pro Brian Twite and Peter Stickley, who caddied at Metro in 1951-52 and was assistant to Brian in 1955-57, enjoyed 9 holes together before the dinner. They were joined on the course by Tasmanian former champion and professional David Good.
– John Trevorrow
The Society gives thanks to the club and staff at Metropolitan GC for their wonderful hospitality which ensured for a most enjoyable evening for our member and their guests.
Thank you to many that have passed on positive and lovely feedback.
We took the opportunity to record Joshua’s talk Please click on the link below to listen.
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.
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.