Laura McBride and Master of Ceremonies, Beryl Brown, at the celebrations to mark 60 years of women’s golf in South Gippsland.

Celebrating women’s golf last week were (L to R) Maree Anderson, Gwen Evison, Gayle Tyers and Anne Walker.

ALL golfing roads for South Gippsland ladies led to Lang Lang Golf Club on Friday, February 9, for the district’s opening event of the season. The day was a significant one for two reasons.
Firstly, it was the first conducted under the new auspices of South Gippsland Golf Inc, the SGGI, following the men’s and women’s district associations coming together late last year to form one committee. Throughout these years, it was evident from the presentations that the individual clubs, Korumburra, Foster, Lang Lang, Leongatha, Meeniyan, Phillip Island, Wonthaggi, Welshpool and Woorayl, prepared for the day, and that in all aspects of golf the dedication, pride and passion shone through for South Gippsland.
Secondly, it also marked the 60th year of the formation of South Gippsland Women’s Golf Association, which continues now under the newly formed SGGI. Over time there have been a couple of name changes. In 1986 it was known as SGLGA, the South Gippsland Ladies Golf Association, and then in 2013 it became SGWGA, the South Gippsland Women’s Golf Association.
The long-standing sponsorship support of over 20 years from, first, Ray and Maree Anderson, and now Scott and Sharon Anderson, from Handley and Anderson Funeral Directors Wonthaggi, was acknowledged and appreciated by all.
It was a day of celebrations on and off the course as 96 players, in 48 teams, participated in the 4BBB Stableford shotgun event. It was a fabulous turnout of ladies for this extra special day. The course was in tip top condition and the weather did not disappoint either with a perfect day ‘presented’ for golf.
Whilst the ladies were out on the course, in the clubhouse there were celebrations of familiar faces being reacquainted, as over 30 invited guests, including past players, previous committee members and those with other connections with South Gippsland Women’s golf gathered.
The official lunch saw both players and invited guests enjoy the time together as golfing stories continued, with friendships reconnecting and no doubt new ones made. The occasion was marked with special 60th year souvenir place-mats, a commemorative booklet and key ring being provided to all present. Thanks goes to Tanya Clarke for the design and to Lang Lang Bendigo Community Bank for the printing and lamination. Thanks also go to the volunteers at the clubs who spent hours researching and collating information and photos for the booklet and displays in the clubhouse. These triggered many memories, stories and joviality.
Irene Holm, SGGI President, welcomed all attendees and thanked Pat Randall, President of Lang Lang Golf Club, and her members for all the work that had contributed to the success of the 60th celebrations and the running of the event. Particular thanks were also made to Margaret McDonald and Barb Twite for their organisation and co ordination of the day.
Irene than announced the prize winners for the 4BBB. In A Grade the mother and daughter team of Beth and Fiona Curran (Foster) returned a fabulous score of 48 pts and with not a one pointer on the card! The runners-up were Rebecca Thomas and Jill Steer (Leongatha) with 45 pts. On an individual note Bec recorded four birdies! In B Grade Karen Bear and Karen Orford (Leongatha) carded another great score of 46pts to win the day, with Inge Giliam and Janet Thompson (Woorayl) as runners-up with 45 pts.
Down the Line balls were presented to: 44pts, Ann Poole and Dianne O’Connor (Woorayl), Trish Latch and Rachel Brown (Welshpool), 43pts, Barb Hogan and Glenda Longshaw (Phillip Island), Cheryl Smith and Mary Whelan (Phillip Island), Marg Tuckett and Sue Wakefield (Woorayl), 42 pts, Paula Sweeney and Cheryl Stockdale (Lang Lang), Toni West and Marg Berry (Leongatha), 41pts, Susan Wylie and Melina Wilder (Leongatha), Maxine Eabry and Trish Owen (Leongatha), Sue Woods and Maryanne Gartner (Leongatha).
Nearest the pins were won by: 5th Rachel Brown (Welshpool), 9th Mary Whelan (Phillip Island), 12th Fiona Curran (Foster), 15th Karen Orford (Leongatha).
After the trophy presentations MC Beryl Brown invited the life members of the association Anne Walker, Maree Anderson (Wonthaggi), Gayle Tyers (Foster) and Gwen Evison (Korumburra) to come forward and cut the beautifully decorated 60th anniversary cake prepared and donated by Lang Lang bakery.
Beryl then introduced the guest speaker Lee Wills, who was elected to the Board of Golf Victoria and then elected as the first Vice President, a position she held for 4 years. She is also past President at Woodlands Golf Club. Lee acknowledged and congratulated all who had been involved in South Gippsland golf, past and present.
She spoke of golf in the bygone years which included some of her own experiences and the tasks undertaken to progress golf through amalgamation with the men. Lee encouraged women to join boards of golf clubs, as then the ideas of women along with the skills of the men help everyone to be collectively involved and included. She congratulated Irene Holm on her own appointment as SGGI President and reiterated the support that is needed in carrying out the role. She concluded by saying golf is a game to be enjoyed at all levels and through this the social fabric will benefit as a result.
Anne Walker was then invited to the lectern to provide a history on the participation of South Gippsland in Country Teams which commenced back in 1933. South Gippsland players participated with other areas until 1984 when the South Gippsland district was admitted in its own right, commencing in Division 3. Pennant wins followed in Division 3 in 1986, 2002, 2004 and 2017. Division 2 was won 1988 and 1995. Anne made a special acknowledgement to Dot Christie (Meeniyan) as she is the only player to be involved in every South Gippsland and Gippsland/Peninsula pennant winning team.
A highlight of the day was the segment presented by Pat Pease on The Golfing Legends or some would refer to it as the Hall of Fame. Pat presented wonderful accounts of the achievements of three standout ladies in South Gippsland golf. The first being Gena Roughead from Woorayl Golf Club, who forged a brilliant career not only in the South Gippsland area but around Victoria. Commencing her golf in 1947 she won numerous titles including 10 District Singles Championships. Gena was a life member of South Gippsland and Woorayl Golf Club. She passed away in 2009.
The second of the ‘legends’ was Dot Christie, from Meeniyan Golf Club. Dot has won 45 Club Championships, the first at age 19 and most recently in 2017. She holds the course record at Meeniyan and is heavily involved at present with coaching club juniors. Like Gena she has won numerous individual and team events with 15 District Singles Championships and a fabulous Country Teams record.
The last of the legends, or possibly legend-in-progress, is Rebecca Thomas from Leongatha Golf Club. As with her fellow legends, Bec has won numerous individual and team titles with 6 District Singles Championships, the first of these in 2008. Bec’s lowest handicap has been scratch and it is currently 3. In speaking of this ‘award’ Bec thanked her wonderful family for the amazing support she receives and the wonderful friendships she shares through the game.
Although only together for a few hours, sixty years were recapped in a fabulous ‘snapshot’ from the presentations made. There was new history made along with memories cherished by all those in attendance. In closing Irene Holm wished everyone’s golfing year to be a rewarding one!