Queensland Chapter April Event

April 2015
(Click to enlarge) Left to right: Peter Monks, Arthur O’Shea, Lew Draper, Ross Bishop, John Greenhalgh, Rob King-Scott, Vince Creagh, Ralph Heading, Trevor Kidd (kneeling), Andrew Baker, John Hains, Chris Cooper, Ross Haslam.

On the afternoon of Friday 24 April, a day described by ABC TV weather presenter Jenny Woodward as ‘postcard weather’, thirteen Australian Golf Heritage Society members assembled for a nine hole stableford competition over the front nine at Royal Queensland Golf Club.

The event was won by AGHS Secretary Ross Haslam with 20 stableford points off a handicap of 11. Runner-up with 15 points off a handicap of 1 was Chris Cooper, on a countback from Ross Bishop with 15 points off a handicap of 10.

For this event, Ross Haslam kindly provided a selection of left and right-handed pre-1900 long nosed wooden clubs and replica gutta percha balls for our fraternity to test. This was a wonderful opportunity to experience the feeling of golf as it was played in the half century following  1849 when the ‘guttie’ was introduced. Ross suggested we use a short- to medium-length par three for this experience, because most players can’t hit such a ball much farther than 100 metres with these clubs.

RQGC kindly prepared the spare par three on the east side of its course (Hole 4A) for our exclusive use to run a nearest-the-pin event using Ross’ age-old equipment. This event was won by Vince Creagh with a majestic stroke using a genuine 1890s semi-long nosed brassie.
Vince’s prize comprised a pair of replica  balls: the first a pre-1900 ‘line-cut gutta percha’ ball and the other a ‘mesh-patterned’ ball as used between 1905 and the 1930s.

The earlier of these balls, traces its history to 1849 when a student of the University of St. Andrews, Rev. Dr. Robert Adams Paterson, melted some discarded gutta percha packaging and formed it into a golf ball. Gutta percha is the milky sap of various Malaysian trees of the sapodilla family (genera Payena and Palaquium). Being more resilient than the ‘feathery’ ball it replaced, the surface of a ‘guttie’ could be scored to make it fly farther and truer. It was also significantly cheaper to produce and was a key reason for the explosion of golf as a popular sport around the turn of the twentieth century. The mesh pattern of the latter ball was made possible by the improved processes forced upon manufacturers as a result of the game’s increased popularity around that time.

Gutta percha ballsA wonderful afternoon was had by all and a unanimous expression of thanks was voiced to Ross Haslam for the loan of the oldest and most precious items from his extensive collection of early golfing equipment.

– Andrew Baker

2015 Al Howard Memorial Trophy – Results

The Al Howard Memorial Trophy was played at Wagga Wagga City Golf Club on Sunday 19th April 2015.

Al Howard trophy Wagga 2015
(Click to enlarge) L to R: Geoff Martin (AGHS), Tom Moore (AGHS), Tony Doggett (AGHS), Gerry Gerlach (AGHS), Jane Buckley (AGHS), Cliff George (GSA), John Buckley (AGHS), Rob Downie (AGHS), Paul Gladwin (AGHS), Dick Kirby (GSA), Lachlan Wilson (AGHS), David Kelso (GSA), Ross Howard (AGHS), Henry Paterson (AGHS), Darron Watt (AGHS), Alan McDonald (AGHS), Paula Gompertz (GSA), Peter Gompertz (GSA)

Under threatening skies, the afternoon 18 hole event was contested by 18 players representing The Golf Society of Australia (Vic) and Australian Golf Heritage Society (NSW). After a light lunch and the draw, teams proceeded to enjoy the course with few other players but many roos grazing down the 1st fairway.

Our Victorian friends required some bolstering of their team to achieve even numbers and my thanks to those players from NSW who rallied to the request to provide a balance for the 9 matches.

A number of long term friends and acquaintances were matched against each other, particularly because AGHS supplied additional numbers for the GSA team and friendly rivalry was the name of the game for the afternoon. To be a part of the last group of 3 pairs witnessing Tony Doggett & Tom Moore (playing for GSA) was interesting to say the least as I am sure were other matches during the afternoon.

The course was in fine condition, originally laid out by Al Howard and subsequently changed by Wayne Grady, it presented a fair challenge as we wheedled our pre-1940 hickories. The rain held off and despite the breeze becoming gusty as times, the day was a great success. Thanks go to Darron Watt for his assistance in the lead up to the event and on the day. Mention should also be made of other AGHS members who contributed to the preparations for the event, namely Dr Michael Sheret & Alan McDonald, thank you for your efforts.

Despite calls for the results to be announced at the course, it was determined all would be revealed at our evening dinner. After negotiating various road blocks, all parties appeared at Cottontails Restaurant out of town for rehydration, sustenance and to hear the result.

The AGHS team recorded a convincing win of 63 holes to 47 holes  (refer to Early Matchplay Scoring) on the day and continue to hold the trophy for 2015. The evening was also notable in that an open forum invited comments on the event and plans for the future. Many positive thoughts were aired and discussed during the evening, particularly in relation to the timing of the event for future years.

From all reports, those who played on the day enjoyed the surroundings and company. We look forward to being in Victoria in 2016 to defend the trophy.

On the Monday, 8 members of the party enjoyed a morning round at Wagga Wagga Country Club, alongside Lake Albert in beautiful weather, not aware of the appallingly bad weather they would encounter on the drive home to Sydney.

Ross Howard

Queensland AGHS Chapter – March Event

The Queensland AGHS Chapter held its third hickory event for 2015 at Royal Queensland Golf Club on Friday 27th March. On a beautiful Brisbane afternoon a field of ten players competed in a stableford competition over Royal Queensland’s front nine.

John Trubicyn was the outright winner with 20 stableford points off a daily handicap of 9. Runner-up was recent hickory convert Neville Sandford with 18 points off a daily handicap of 11. In third position (on countback) was Chris Cooper, scoring 18 points off a daily handicap of 3.

The high scores from recent events was discussed over post-round drinks and it was unanimously agreed that the standard of hickory play in Queensland has improved markedly over the few short years of the group’s existence. This was highlighted by off-the-stick scores of 38 and 39, respectively, by Chris Cooper and John Trubicyn, against a par of 36.

– Andrew Baker