History of the Fisho’s Golf Club
It was around mid-1989 (you remember, back when the Club was run properly) and a coup was developing in the Gerroa area (nothing changes much, does it?). A group of “sportspeople” (back then the term hadn’t even been invented) had decided that it was time to form a breakaway group in order that they could play golf once a month away from the Cronin Pub mob that they had been playing with till then.
The exact reason for this decision is lost in the dim mists of history. Some have suggested that certain people were sick and tired of others claiming victory on match days by conveniently losing their card out of the back of the Ute and then “re-scoring” their card back at the Pub. But the generally accepted rationale for this momentous move was, basically, the agitators were too bloody lazy to get up and drive a few kilometres and then play 18 holes of golf during the crisp mornings of a Sunday.
You see, in those days (as in fact happens now), the Pub would play at courses up and down the coast. As anyone who has been involved in trying to get a game on a Sunday at the more popular courses would have found, the hit-off times available are usually around sun-up. This would mean the good folk of Gerroa were getting up before “sparrows”, driving to wherever, playing golf on wet and dewy fairways and greens and then driving back to the Pub for the BBQ and presentation (and cheating as mentioned earlier).
Thus was the GBFC Social Golf Section spawned and, on the 30th July, 1989, the first ever official game took place (more about that later).
The ring-leaders are well known simply because they filled the office bearer’s roles from Day One. To the best of my knowledge and after extensive research, no election or discussion ever took place to appoint these people into their respective roles, it was just accepted that they would do the job (an interesting analogy being that to my knowledge there has been only one vote on this matter during the 13-year history of the Group and that was “a vote to decide if we were going to have a vote”, the result being a resounding NO by something like 48 to nil).
Those initial leaders (the First Reich, if you will) were:
Frank “Curly” Murton – President
Jack “Noddy” Walsh – Handicapper
Clyde “Coppo” Copley – Treasurer
It is to these three men that an enormous debt is owed by everyone that now enjoys the Golf days put on by the Club.
Frank was a devoted fisherman firstly but he also gave huge support to all the “sub-groups” in the Club. During my research, it was suggested that no-one actually could figure out what Frank did as part of his role, he just took the title and did nothing (amazing really, as much as things change, they really stay the same).
Jack was the person who developed the basic idea that the group should be based on “social” first, golf ability second. His handicapping system was designed to spread the winners as broadly as possible amongst the players and it worked (somebody else we know has “re-invented” this attitude since taking on the handicapper’s role and this return to those early days is, in no small way, a reason the Section continues to grow).
Coppo? Well Coppo was just Coppo. To all the people who have begun playing with us since February 1998, the single biggest thing you have missed out on was not knowing this bloke. Most of the information I will give in this “potted history” comes from the records I inherited from Coppo. Everybody who knew him will have a wealth of stories to tell you about him (all of them good). But it is Coppo you can blame for having me do what I do with the Golf Section because it was he that “bequeathed’ the role to me.
The First Game
As said earlier, the first game of the Gerroa Boat Fisherman’s Golf section took place on Sunday, the 30th July 1989.
There were 20 players but unfortunately who those twenty were are unknown (although if I was to ask around the Club, I am certain I would come up with around 50 people who would claim to have been one of them).
The records show some interesting costs for the day:
1 Dozen Golf Balls, $24.00
Noel prizes + golf ball, $17.00
4 Bread, $ 5.50
1 Butter, $ 1.60
Onions, $ 1.50
Paid to Club, $40.00
Raffle Books, $ 1.60
A further expense is noted as “$32 Curly”. I can’t work out what this entry was for (perhaps it was the start of the graft and corruption that the Section has become famous for – my house extensions are going really well thanks!!).
So the total Expenses for the first golf day came to a grand total of $163.80.
Against that cost, the players paid $7 for the game and the BBQ. Therefore, the Net Result for the day was a LOSS of $23.80.
I didn’t start playing with the Group until around mid-1991, so I had to get an idea of what that first day was like by asking a few of the “survivors” about it. My thanks, in particular, to Marg Copley and Wazza Wearne for their remembrances (although how the hell I can trust Wazza’s memory is beyond me, the bastard can’t remember my name half the time, let alone Lois’s, and he sees me about every week).
If you had turned up that day, you would have congregated around the old tin shed, a beautiful rustic (or is that rusted) green it was too.
No doubt at some time Gordon Hulme would have come out of the shed, beer in hand and already three parts to the wind. Gordon has now totally changed his life around (and good luck to him) but if you didn’t get a laugh out of Gordon in those days, you had to be brain dead.
The course layout was totally different to today’s format. For a start it was only nine holes, which is what it was when I started playing there. But when I started, the nine holes were what is now the back nine (with a few greens having now undergone some significant changes).
In June ’89, however, the course looked completely different (this information was obtained from several people including Ian “Tooly” Godfrey and any discrepancy is mine alone).
The 1st was slightly South of the hedge hiding the toilet block today. I am told that some hay bales were put down to mark the tee block and that it was a Par 3, playing towards the “middle” of the course. The 2nd was a Par 5 with the tee adjacent to the hedge that has just been cut down (to the left of the current first fairway). The green was just west of the now “Bill Miller” dam (the first dam you go over on the 4th today). From there, for the 3rd, you came back from the western edge of the dam to roughly where the first green is today and this was a Par 4.
The 4th was a Par 3 over what is now the dam in front of the 11th. The only difference was that back then it was not a dam, just a gully full of blackberry thorns and “as rough as guts”. Apparently you then walked up the hill to around about where the current fifth green is to play another Par 3 where, if you over hit, you would go over the cliff.
The 6th was a Par 5, teeing off from sort of half way up the hill on the current fifth fairway. You would have to hit over Bill Williamson’s Dam (the one in front of the 4th green today) and then over Bill Miller’s Dam to reach the green. The 7th was a Par 4 more or less following the line of the current 14th. I asked Tooly which green was supposedly so steep that you could “14 putt” it without difficulty. He reckoned that was about every one of them but did confirm it was this 7th that was the one. Apparently you could putt, miss the hole and just wait because the ball would come back to you (thank Christ I didn’t play on this course, I don’t think I would have had a club left in the bag). The 8th was a Par 3 and I get the impression it was roughly from where the 15th tee is today.
Whoever designed the 9th and last hole must have been a bigger bastard than I. It was a Par 5 and you hit off from just this side of Bill Miller’s Dam, virtually straight up the hill, past where the machinery shed stands today, finishing around about where the 18th green is today. Called “Coronary Hill” for obvious reasons, this was the first hole “designed out” of the next phase of the course’s development.
I don’t know who had the honour of being the first to hit off, nor do I know who won the day but whatever, it was back to the Club for the real part of the day (the BBQ and some beer).
In those days, the BBQ was held essentially where the Restaurant is built now. Seating comprised of logs pulled up or the ground (your choice). Wazza was the cook (you would reckon after this amount of time he would have got it right) and snags and steak on bread were the fare.
For that first game it would seem that golf balls were given out as prizes. This was to change not long after to actual “gifts” and, again, Wazza was the original “Purchasing Officer” (that goes a long way to understanding why Home Brew containers featured so prominently on the list. By the time I started playing, if you won you could take the Home Brew and give it to Wazza who would make up a batch and you would get a “Baker’s Dozen” – 13 large bottles – in return).
And so the first ever game of the Fisho’s Social Golf had been played.
And here we are, 13 years on, celebrating what those original 20 players started. Many of the original 20 are no longer with us, having either moved way or, unfortunately, passed on (but then, as they say, the only sure things on this earth are death, taxes and not scoring any points on the 4th).
But over the years a lot of things have happened to the Group as it has evolved and the following is a sort of “Timeline” of events (some good, some funny and some sad) that have marked this development. I hope it brings back a few memories for some people.
The Fisho’s Social Golf Timeline
A Few Facts & Figures
I know that many people find statistics boring. Also a lot of people can’t understand them (particularly you cretins who can’t even mark a scorecard properly).
Given that, however, the following are a few stats that have developed over the years (you might find a few surprises). The figures are accurate up to and including March 2002.
* There have been 139 months recorded as having been played (for some reason the months from September 1989 to January 1990 inclusive are not recorded and so have been considered as not having been played – although that’s obviously incorrect).
* There have been eight months “rained out” – the earliest February 1990 and the last July 1999.
* The worst year for rain was 1995 with two months (March and November) washed out and the worst month has been February with three months wiped.
* There have been 3,299 “person games” begun (I say “begun” because over the years some really wimpy excuses have been given for people not finishing a round, for example gout, buggered, myocardial infarction)
* The lowest number of players in any month was July 1994 when only eight played.
*The highest number to play was January 2002 with 53.
* The most popular month is December (big surprise, traditionally it has been a “free game”) at a 28.9 person average. But it does only just edge out January with 27.5.
* The worst attended months are September (20.4) and June (20.6)
* The worst “Year Total” (ignoring 1989 because it only had two games recorded) was 1998 with 183 players (one game was washed out). The best was 2001 with 450 (all 12 games played). That record is under some threat this year as so far, in three months, we have had 150 “player games”.
As the GBFC Social Golf section enters its 14th year, it is appropriate to get down, at least in some small way, the history of a group that has brought so much fun to so many people.
The numbers of original members who started the whole thing will (hopefully not too soon) begin to dwindle and a lot of what happened in those early days will be lost forever.
As I said earlier, I started playing with the Group around the middle of 1991. I was going to list down a few of the memories of those years in this report but, honestly, it was just getting too big anyway. (Perhaps, with Tony’s kind assistance of course, we could start a “From The Vault” section in future editions of “In the Hole”. That way we can document some of the things that people who have been such a part of this Group’s development remember with fondness, for instance Jack dressing up as Santa Claus for Christmas presentation days).
The section owes so much to so many people who have helped throughout the years. I am not even going to try and list them here because, one, I don’t think I could do everyone justice and, two, there’s not enough ink in the printer.
Suffice to say, to all of you, thanks for the memories.
It has been fun putting this together and I must confess that I am certain it contains errors, particularly when I tried to “re-live” the early years. My thanks to everyone who provided input and any mistakes are fully mine alone?
So that’s it, 13 down and who knows how many to go. See you on the 1st.
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 January 2007 )|