All posts by Alan McDonald

Tom Moore Interview

Project Name: Australian Golf Heritage Society Oral History Project
For further information and a project brief,
please contact: Curator/Collection Manager
Australian Golf Heritage Society: 9637 4720
Interview Length 01:07:15 – edited
01:19:45 – archival
Interview Number No.1 of series
Timed log X
Name of interviewee Tom Moore
Date of Birth 7/1/1931
Date of Interview 15/3/2013
Place of Interview Interviewee’s home/North Rocks NSW Australia

Technical Data – Sound Files

Brand and Model of Digital Recorder Zoom H4N
Brand and type of microphones used
(with split cable adapter)
Sony Condenser
Sound Storage Medium used – USB, CD – client History Herstory has back-up copies
Location of Back-up Home – various and Dropbox
Digital Recording Rate     Uncompressed WAV 24 bit 48 kHz  archival
CD (WAV – 44.1/16) and MP3 – edited
Sound Field Stereo

Technical Data – Photographs/Images

Full Title of each item Tom Moore portraits
Place/location where photograph was taken North Rocks
Creator Interviewer
Source Access/Restrictions/Copyright Nil restrictions
Model of Digital Camera Canon Digital SLR EOS 500D
File Format (eg JPEG, TIFF, RAW) JPEG
Pixel dimension 12
No. of Images  


Signed Conditions of Interview Use Form X
Signed release form for photos provided by interviewee X
List of other relevant documentation NA


Time Subjects Proper Names
0:00 -1:00  Project introduction AGHS –Australian Golf Heritage Society
1:03 Standard Genealogical information  
3:55 – 6:29 Tom Moore’s summary of his life in golf – as a Golf Professional and as a player.  
6:30 – Life as a 12 year old caddie in 1943+, golfers he caddied for were leaders in the community, very respectful men, golf balls in WW2, great spirit showed by the players. Rules of golf very fairly applied and this taught him life-long values. Jimmy Banks – creator of Ginger Meggs’ cartoonDan Dwyer – second in charge to General Blamey and the Head of the Johnson and Johnson pharmaceutical company.
8:45 Tom’s training as an accountant at Business College after leaving High School and early work in Accountancy at The Australian Glass Manufacturers factory at Waterloo, started at 15 years. Left in 1950 at 19yo.  
9:50 Professional golf career began as an amateur at Asquith Golf Club started at 16 in 1947. Difference between amateurs and professionals / Golf professionals ‘glorified caddies’. Caddies were called by their surname. The amateur was ‘king’. No touring professionals. Amateur games written up by the newspapers /professionals had little publicity. 1930s Norman Von Nida – changes occurred for professionals because of him and because of Exhibition matches of overseas professionals.  
12:50 Muirfield Golf Club appointment as golf professional. When Tom started the club was bankrupt. Golf at the time was a ‘winter’ game. Golf started in the first week in March each year and stopped last week of November. Golf became a year round sport because of the advent of television in 1956.  
14:33 Exhibition Matches USA and British players – not fabulous pay / ‘collection of the crowd’ for the exhibition players. 1954 when Peter Thomson won the British Open, Australian touring professionals had more opportunities to make a living from the game. Peter Thomson
15:59 The role of a golf club professional in 1950s and 1960s – received a small stipend, free rent on golf shop. Teaching, Committee influence, shop open 7 days. Christmas Day only day closed.  
18:02 Learning the art of making golf clubs and golf club assembly. Use of persimmon wood. Danger of persimmon wood running out. Laminating, plastic woods, aluminium alloys, titanium. No Australian woods suitable. Stopped working with persimmon in the 1970s. At Muirfield Golf Club for 23 and a half years, left at age 46 years.  
20:47 Events played in Australia and overseas. Not possible to be a player and a golf touring professional.  
21:28 American influences. USA active in promoting tournament golf/USA tax breaks/ use of charities to raise money for golf.  
22:12 Moved to Auburn Golf Club – much better work and salary conditions for golf professionals. Role of golf professional much the same in the 70s and 80s. Professional business attitudes in the running of the club. Review of reasons for leaving Muirfield. Equipment now mainly made in factories.  
25:46 Very few golf professionals like Tom had careers other than golf based like Tom’s accountancy qualifications because he had a gap between leaving school and starting work as a Golf Professional. Tom’s training in Accountancy helped him in his work. Golf professionals who were not passionate did not keep their jobs. Some golf professionals could not play golf well but they were in the minority and clubs got rid of them.  
28:44 Caddie work in the clubs finished after the war.  
29:37 Photographic science changed training approaches. Golf balls improved.  
30:26 Instruction manuals, books, magazines – Tom had to read them all. Cigarette cards very popular in the 1930s. Tom did not use film to analyse his trainees.  
32:09 Golf gizmos and gadgets – Tom a traditional trainer. The sort of people he trained. He trained touring professionals such as Jack Newton. Betty Cuthbert, Jack Newton.
34:00 In the 1970s – setting up golf contracts / minimum standards of pay – new initiative. Setting up of a Provident Fund.  
35:56 Interaction between touring and club professionals. Two separate camps – Club Professionals qualifying School. Tournament professionals. Touring professionals ‘looked down’ on Club Professionals even though club professionals were often excellent players. Now can be a member of both ‘camps’.  
38:05 Hickory shafts/Steel shafts/ USA influences on changeover from hickory to steel. UK followed suit. Buying set of golf clubs. (1930s). There were some matched sets of hickory golf clubs.  
41:28 Golf balls – advances. Wound golf balls. Best golf balls still made in similar fashion to the balls used when Tom started as a 12yo. The start of re-covering golf balls so they could be reused – very profitable, started during WW2. Costs of balls. In 1970 a superior quality golf ball cost $1. Rubber for golf balls in the WW2 war years. Players always aim, then and now, for the best quality they can afford for all golf equipment. Balata
45:21 Graphite shafts / lightweight steel – manufacturers now make almost all clubs, no longer a role for Club Professionals. Names, numbers of golf clubs.  
47:30 Golf bags / Golf Buggies – changes over the years up to the 1970s – significant changes. Advent of wheeled buggies for bags.  
48:47 Tees pre-war/ up to 1939 – made out of sand with an egg-cup shaped container filled from sand buckets. Caddies built the sand tees and knew the type of tee the golfer they caddied for wanted – no such thing as the tee used today – this came in in the 1930s.  
50:19 Roll of caddies – Jack Nicklaus established the role of the modern day caddie. Golfers now use range finders. Modern day caddie is a good asset to a touring professional – caddies have excellent work conditions including very high rates of pay. Caddie knows a lot about golf but not necessarily a good player. Jack Nicklaus
52:08 Original golf clothing – Plus Fours / reasons for Plus Fours. Golf clothing today, men and women.  
53:17 Females in golf – up until WW2 females were tolerated but had different conditions imposed upon them in golf clubs.  
54:19 Golf course design – golf ‘along the ground’/ Arial golf. Modern golf is different because of golf course design especially with the introduction of water features.  
55:25 Grass – early courses tried to copy Scotland – didn’t work in Australia because of climate apart from the golf courses in Melbourne which has an excellent climate for golf grass and has the best courses in Australia.  
56:25 Green keepers then and now. Were glorified labourers in the past.  
57:13 Major influences on Australian golf – UK or USA. American influences predominant on Australian golfing despite our historical links to Scotland. USA has the population to produce the champions.  
58:08 PGA – then and now.  
59:18 PGA as compared to Golf Australia. Was a lot of disharmony in the past, now a lot more cooperation.  
1:00:28 Golf since retiring – very active in all aspects.  
1:01:27 Attendance at tournaments – promoting the work of the AGHS and the history of golf.  
1:02:08 Why is golf a funny game? Funny peculiar not funny ha ha.  
1:02:40 Tom’s definition of a fine golfer – personality and overall attitude. Some golfers are not nice people. Mention of Norman Von Nida – very nice man  
  Tom’s favourite golfers – Norman Von Nida and Kel Nagle  
1:05:03 Additional comments / lovely life in golf/ wonderful wife/ Boy Scout/ bush walking/ politics. Tom’s children/ grandchildren – all can play golf but they choose not to play golf – Tom never pushed golf onto his children or grandchildren as he witnessed the damage pushy parents can do.  

Non-Conforming Hickories

An issue explored by Michael Sheret and Perry Somers

One of the co-authors of this article, Perry, found himself in the middle of controversy1 in October last year when he wanted to play with his hickory clubs in the Australian PGA Seniors Championship, held over three rounds at Killara Golf Club in Sydney. As readers of TTG will know, Perry plays frequently with his hickories and using them he is capable of turning in scores of around par. 2011 was the centenary year of the PGA of Australia. Perry’s reason for wanting to play in the tournament with his hickories and dressed in plus fours and jacket was to contribute to the PGA’s celebration of its 100th year.

The organisers of the event had some doubt as to whether Perry’s hickories would be considered as conforming clubs. From the PGA the matter was put to Golf Australia, the governing body of golf in Australia with responsibility for administering the rules of golf. For whatever reason Golf Australia felt it necessary to get a decision from the R&A, and photographs of Perry’s clubs were duly sent to St. Andrews. Somehow Perry’s notes, which should have accompanied the photographs, did not reach the R&A. The notes would have explained his reasons for wishing to play with hickories in the tournament and described how they gave no advantage over other players.

The Decision

The reply came back from the R&A Rules Ltd (Equipment Standards) with regard to the submitted photographs of the iron clubfaces. These clubs ‘would not conform to the modern rules’ because the grooves ‘are nor parallel – they are slightly radiating’ and ‘Appendix II, 5a (sic) states that the grooves must be straight and parallel’2. As one can see from the photograph of Perry’s mashie, this is a perfectly correct ruling from the R&A. It is indeed the only answer to the question: Is this club conforming or non-conforming under the current rules of golf?

However, the ruling by the R&A brings up three issues:

  • Was there some way that Perry could have competed with his hickories?
  • Are the modern clubs currently in use that are non-conforming under the same Rule?
  • What are the implications for hickory golfers?
Competing with Non-Conforming Clubs

This is a difficult issue. The conditions of play for the Australian PGA Seniors Championship stated clearly that the competition was to be played under the Rules of Golf and any local rules in force on the day. It is interesting that the R&A did not specifically say that Perry’s hickories could not be used in the Championship. So what could the Championship Committee done to allow Perry to compete with his non-conforming hickories?

A simple solution would have been for the Committee and the sponsors to set up a competition within a competition, Under such an arrangement Perry would play with his hickories alongside the other players but would not be competing for the Australian PGA Seniors Championship. He would be competing for a separate prize pool, say a prize of the same value (with perhaps an upper limit) as his score would have won in the main event. this is a simple solution, but an unsatisfactory one on several counts.

The Committee might have considered an exception for Perry under ‘equity’ or a ‘local rule’ or the ‘condition of the competition’ and allowed him to compete in the main event. These terms, however, appear in the Rules of Golf, which make it clear that their use must not override a Rule of Golf. Suppose the Committee, as an addendum to the conditions of the competition, stated that: ‘As a special exception for this tournament, a player may use wooden shafted clubs manufactured before 1935, provided that the Committee is satisfied that they give no advantage to the player over modern clubs as specified in Appendix II of the Rules of Golf’. We are quite confident that there would have been no protest from other players in the field. but we wonder how the ruling bodies in golf would view such a statement.

Modern Clubs

The Rules of Golf are written to be unambiguous. Therefore they can be interpreted literally, as in the case of the radiating grooves. We believe that at the present time there are new clubs on sale and modern clubs being used by thousands of golfers that are non-conforming under the Rule: ‘Grooves must be straight and parallel’.

Perry’s Mashie


Modern non-conforming


The photograph shows a popular modern iron by a major manufacturer. Most of the grooves are parallel from heel to toe, but the two white grooves run from crown to sole. The club face has two sets of grooves, one at right angles to the other, the very antithesis of parallel. The clubface clearly does not meet the criterion: ‘Grooves must be straight and parallel’.

It might be argued that the two crown-to-sole grooves are permitted under Appendix II, 5 Club Face; d. Decorative Markings ‘. . . . Decorative markings are permitted outside the impact area.’ This argument is, however, invalid on two counts. Firstly, the two grooves are not decorative, they are put there as an alignment aid. Secondly, they are not outside the impact area. The term ‘impact area’, although used in different parts parts of the Rules, is not defined with any great precision.We note that impact area and point of impact are two different things. The point of impact may be a little off centre but, as the ball flattens under compression, the impact geometry changes from a point to a roughly area with a diameter getting on for 1.68 inches. A little off-centre initial impact would at maximum compression easily include the two crown-to-sole grooves.

We are conscious that the above reasoning concerning modern clubs will strike some readers as somewhat pedantic. We would argue that it is no more pedantic than pointing out that some old clubs have grooves that radiate slightly. To quote Richard Tufts: ‘Golf is a complex game and we must anticipate that the Rules will reflect this fact.3 We might add that interpretation of the Rules is an equally complex affair.

Implications for Hickory Golfers

We see no problem for purely hickory events where players may be using clubs that are non-conforming under the strict interpretation of the current rules. BGCS stipulates that clubs must be from the hickory era, up to and including 1935.4 It might be wise to add a clause that they should be clubs that were conforming to the standards applicable in the year of manufacture. In purely hickory events it is unlikely that scores will be used for national handicap returns and unlikely that appeals regarding the Rules will be made to the R&A Rules Committee.

There are likely to be problems for players who use their hickories for all their golf, both at club and higher levels. Radiating grooves are fairly common in hickories, as are criss-cross grooves and other imaginative patterns. At club level it is likely that the match committee would, we believe, regard the lone hickory player as rather eccentric and would not get in a tizzy about whether his or her clubs were conforming or not. For hickory players who play at higher levels, where the rest of the field is using modern clubs and is bound strictly by the current Rules of Golf, there are definite problems.

There is, however, a fairly simple solution. Between 2011 and 2012 things changed with the new edition of the Rules of Golf, 2012-2015. Note 1 has been added to Appendix II 5c: ‘The groove and punch mark specifications above indicated by an asterisk (*) apply only to new models of clubs manufactured on or after 1 January 2010 . . .’. Unfortunately, an asterisk does not appear next to ‘Grooves must be straight and parallel’, but it would be reasonable for the R&A Rules Committee to put one there. That would, at a stroke, remove the principle reason why so many hickory clubs are considered non-conforming under the current Rules. As for water irons, rake irons and niblicks with concave faces . . . well, that is another matter.


  1. 1. Users of Facebook can view a short news segment made by the Australian Channel 10 Television about the controversy. Key in ‘Hickory Golf Passion’ to bring up Perry’s Facebook page. The video is titled ‘It’s a crazy world!’ and was posted on March 9, 2012. Bear in mind that there was a great deal of editing of the total material recorded. Viewers will see a good example of a common reaction to the R&A ruling, namely to castigate the R&A. That was not the action of the authors of this article. Once the R&A was put in a position of having to give a ruling they had no choice but to give a correct ruling according to the Rules. our reaction was that there was something of an anomaly in the situation. the rules regarding club design were made sure that clubs are not ‘substantially different from the traditional customary form and make’,. The rules with regard to grooves are clearlt intended to prevent excessive backspin on iron shots to the green. We do not think the current club specification are intended to prevent players from using old-fashioned hickories with rather ineffective groove patterns. We were concerned about ways in which Perry could have been allowed to use his hickories in the Australian PGA Seniors Championship. We were also concerned at how the R&A ruling would affect hickory play in general, especially given that the ‘hickory movement’ is a growing one.
  2. 2. The Rule is in fact Appendix II, 5 Club Face; c Impact Area Markings; (i) Grooves, dot point 2 in the 2008-2011 edition and dot point 1 in the 2012-2015 edition. The Rule is clear: ‘Grooves must be straight and parallel’.
  3. 3. Tufts, RS. The Principles Behind the Rules of Golf. Pinehurst Publications, 1961, p7
  4. 4. Through the Green. BCGS. June 2009. p5

(This article first appeared in the September 2012 issue of ‘Through the Green’, the journal of the British Golf Collectors Society, and is reproduced with the kind permission of the Society, and the authors).

Development of Golf in Tasmania

In The Mercury of July 21st, 1892 a report on the committee meeting for the Tasmanian Racing Club, at Elwick racecourse, in Hobart’s northern suburbs, mentions,

“A letter was received in reference to the use of the grounds at Elwick for a golf club, but it was decided to ask for more information before coming to any decision in reference to the matter”.

In The Mercury of November 7th, 1895, under the heading ‘A week in Carnarvon, the beauties of Port Arthur’, was the following extract,

“Carnarvon boasts of having started the first golf links in the colony, and as at present, the only one in the south.”

On June, 4th, 1895 the Launceston Golf Club became Tasmania’s first club; the Reverend W. H. Webster was appointed Secretary / Treasurer. Mr Edmund King granted permission for the use of his ground above the South Launceston reservoir, they also played on Lawrence’s paddocks. The Club’s first matches were played on Saturday, June 8th, 1895. Dr. Gutterridge was President. The Club flourished for two seasons before interest subsided, partly due to the distance of the course from town and only a few dedicated enthusiasts were left playing on Lawrence’s and Newstead’s paddocks. Efforts were made in 1897 to find links closer to town.

Another club was established in Launceston in July 1899, playing on links at Mowbray Racecourse, before moving to Kings Meadows in June 1901. The Mowbray Golf Club would later be called the Tasmanian Golf Club and finally, as it is currently known, the Launceston Golf Club. Their course appears to be the oldest in the state.

In March 1896 a club was formed at Devonport, playing on ground owned by Mr G.E. Harrap. The links were formally opened on April 25th, 1896. By 1900 a second club, the Mersey Golf Club, was operating on the eastern side of the river. Sheffield followed soon after, forming a club in December 1896, Mr Roberts and the Hope brothers being among the founding members.

In September 1898 the Longford Club began playing at the local racecourse and then later at Mr T.C. Archer’s estate, Woolmer. In 1903, The Mercury was reporting:

“that there were thirteen golf courses within the same number of miles of Longford.”

The Sassafras Club started in October, 1899, playing over links on Mr John Rockcliff’s estate, Westfield. In 1900 the Club’s links moved to two paddocks owned by Mr Charles Rockcliff.

In the south at Hobart, Mr Macfarlane laid out a short course, approximately 1½ miles in length, at the rear of his property, Newlands on Augusta St, New Town. He sent out circulars to prospective members and a club was formed in April 1896. Dr W. Giblin was foundation Secretary. The Club was in existence until 1907 when the Newlands property was sold for building lots. The members of the Newlands club commenced play at Mr H. Wright’s property Grove, at Glenorchy and the name changed to the Grove Golf Club, which survived until the First World War.

By October, 1896 Newlands was organising to visit the Jericho links and the Tinderbox Bay golfers. A small course was also in existence in 1897 at Bellerive. The Lindisfarne Golf Club commenced in August, 1900 at Beltona.

The Hobart Golf Club was formed in December, 1900, on the Blink Bonny estate at Sandy Bay. The Club lost these links when it was commandeered by the Defence Department and an internment camp was created when war broke out.

In 1916 the Rosny estate was purchased and a 9 hole golf course was laid out to the design of C Fawcett and Mr L.A. Cluff. The Club was granted Royal status in 1925.

In the Midlands, in August 1897, golf clubs were sent up from Hobart for the newly formed Bothwell Golf Club. Play soon commenced at links on the Dennistoun Estate. This Club didn’t last long and another club was formed in 1902. The Club played first on the Logan estate until 1910, then temporary links were used at Cluny estate.

Research by GSA member Ross Baker has found a reference to a course, and play, at Ratho in August 1901; this is the earliest documented evidence of a golf course at Ratho.

Oatlands Golf Club was formed in April, 1902 after members of the Club had been playing on the paddocks of Messrs. Sturgeon and Jones the previous year. Also in 1902, the Midlands Golf Club was formed in Ross playing on the Chiswick links.

Other clubs playing golf in Tasmania prior to 1914 include Deloraine 1898, St Leonards 1899, Evandale 1899, George Town 1900, Ouse 1902, Swansea 1903, Swanport 1903, Glamorgan 1904, Brighton 1905, La Trobe 1907, Stanley 1909, Ulverstone 1911 and New Norfolk 1912.

The Northern Tasmanian Golf Association was formed in 1900, and the Southern Golf Union in 1902; together they inaugurated the first North and South matches and State Amateur Championships in 1902. The Tasmanian Golf Council commenced in 1908.

In 1902 Mr H.N. Giblin won the first men’s state championships and Miss D. Nicolas won the Ladies’ event. Eustace Headlam won the first Tasmanian Open Championship. Early Tasmanian success at Australian Amateur championships includes Miss Elvie Whitesides in 1906, Clyde Pearce in 1908 – as well as the Australian Open that year, Mrs Harrison in 1913 and Len Nettleford in 1926 and 1928.

James Hunter from Edinburgh was the first professional in Tasmania and was attached to the Hobart Golf Club; during his time there he laid out the Sandy Bay links. Amongst his pupils were Clyde and Bruce Pearce. James Herd was the first professional in the north of the island working for the Launceston Sports Depot.

In more recent times, 1954 Australian Amateur Champion, and GSA member, Peter Toogood has won the Tasmanian Open eight times and the Tasmanian Amateur ten times, among his many achievements, and was the founder of the Australasian Golf Museum at Bothwell; well worth a visit for anyone interested in Tasmanian and Australian golf history