1820s golfers celebrate 50 years

OLDER BUT NOT FINISHED: The Royal Port Alfred Golf Club’s oldest four-ball covey in 2018 with a combined age of 335, from left, Albert Whitfield, Lionel Timm, Dale Wisener and Stan Weyer. These gentlemen still play a very good game off respectable handicaps

ERNEST ALLEN

The 1820 Golfers Group held their annual lunch at the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club (RPAGC) on Monday November 19.

The event was special because 50 years earlier, in 1968, the idea of a group of older golfers was born.   The originators, Bob Holdren, Alec Terry, Graham Snelgar, Bill Cunningham and Frank Nicholson envisaged a relaxed, friendly Betterball Medal competition playing just 13 holes. The fact that the 13th hole ends at the clubhouse is therefore not coincidental.

Today the only qualification for membership is that one must be of reasonably mature years, enjoy fellowship and no longer find golf a taxing sport where one’s putting can be put off by the violent beating of butterfly wings on the adjacent fairway. The objective of the competition is not to come last.   The only trophy awarded goes to the team with the worst score, and this is known as the Moose Head, a conglomerate of lopsided horns somehow arranged in a battered holder that has seen better years.

Teams are drawn at the pre-tournament get together by a playing card, with the fours, twos, threes and so on playing together each Monday and Thursday and one seldom plays with the same partners every game.  A player who is part of a different team unlucky enough to lose three competitions in a row, receives the mini Moose, not a trophy that one wishes to receive.

Do not get the impression that the whole process is genteel and non-competitive. There are some mighty strikers of the ball among the 1820s.  One or two even have to shout “fore!” when putting.

The lunch itself was a fun affair with wives and partners. As one our oldest member remarked, “Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beautiful partner, and you can keep my golf clubs and the fresh air!”

Juan Southey was the MC and RPAGC president Noel Stotter welcomed everyone.  Thanks to Juan Southey, Ram Piers and Dave Page who also deserve a good deal of credit. Thanks also to the club and their excellent catering by sisters Penny and Jo.

Several speeches, including in particular Southey and Dudley Kieser’s contributions, had the diners laughing out loud and made the lunch the pleasant and lively event it was intended to be. Presentations of both the desired and less desired tributes included the following:

Most games played: Ted Baines 85, Dudley Kieser 83, Albert Whitfield 82, Lionel Timm 80, Peter Rinaldi 79.

Number of wins: Lawton Amos 18, Albert Whitfield 17,  Peter Rinaldi 16, Dudley Kieser 16 and Nick Van der Merwe 14. The number of Mooseheads were Ernie Allen 15, John Heather 13, Dallas Cowie 13, Ted Baines 13 and Dave Page 12.

Average nett score: Don Howarth 51.12, John Dell 51.45, Kevin Reid 51.48, Micky Parker 51.62.

1820s average nett score 52.10

Average gross score: Nick van der Merwe 55.64, Dennis McElwee 56.31, Roy Pople 57.38, Lawton Amos 59.12, Dudley Kieser 60.86. 1820’s average gross score 65.33.

Total number of rounds played: 2,028.  Total number of strokes played: 132,483.  Total number of 2 clubs was 127. Average Age 76.16.

The combined ages of the oldest winning fourball was 335 and played on August 30 between Lionel Timm, Stan Weyer, Albert Whitfield and Dale Wisener. Roy Pople scored the perfect shot with a ”Hole in One” at the 6th on September 20.

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