When the first hickory-shaft challenge match between The Golf Collector’s Society of Australia (now the AGHS) and The Golf Society of Australia was played at Royal Melbourne in November 2002, discussion was held over a few beers regarding a suitable trophy for the match.
At that time a silver trophy top piece that had been passed from father to son to grandson had been sitting on a side board cabinet for more than 25 years. The trophy was awarded to the winner of the 1921 NSW Amateur Championship – T. E. (Tom) Howard, who defeated Eric Apperly at Royal Sydney Golf Club at Rose Bay.
The idea then germinated that maybe the trophy laying fallow – suitably renamed – might be an appropriate grail for the winner of an annual contest between the AGHS and The Golf Society of Australia.
Al Howard (OAM)
Al was born 8th May 1913 at Mascot. Infused from an early age with golfing stories, action and folklore, Al caddied for his father at Royal Adelaide in 1923 when Tom won the Australian Open. At 16, he headed into the bush of central Queensland as a jackeroo during the Depression, and made his professional debut playing in the Australian Open in 1931 at The Australian Golf Club, in a field that included his father Tom.
Al played a significant role in the early post World War II years in re-establishing professional golf and the developing early driving ranges, and started a golf course design consultancy in 1952 that continued until 2008. Along the way he designed or developed over 200 golf courses, was elected an Honorary Member of the Australian Golf Course Architects Society, wrote golf stories, a weekly column for the Mirror group of newspapers, plus numerous articles for other publications for over 40 years.
He was golf presenter on the Channel 9’s World of Sport during the 50 & 60’s, and commentator on the early major televised tournaments, made many people laugh with after dinner speeches, sold a lot of golf balls and tees, lived a life filled with golfing experiences and memories, was awarded an OAM for services to golf in 1994, and honoured with Life Membership of the PGA.
Al passed away on 10th January 2014, 4 months short of his 101st birthday.