Great Lakes/Manning Valley Veterans Week of Golf is taking place at Taree, Tallwoods, Tu ncurry and Forster golf courses from October 7 – 12. Tournament Director, Garry Tucker, tells us about the event …
How did the Veterans Week of Golf come about?
In 1998, the then President of the NSW Veterans Golf Association contacted Allen Lane of the Forster Club to try and start up a Veterans tournament in the area, as he was the zone representative and Captain. I should mention that the qualification to become a veteran is to be over 55 years of age and belong to a registered golf club.
The local Wingham club had tried to get an event started involving both Gloucester and Taree but as both Wingham and Gloucester were both only 9-hole courses, it was not a viable event.
In 2000, Allen Lane and his wife, Rhonda, decided to launch the Manning Valley tournament and invited various committees and captains throughout NSW to participate at Forster, Tuncurry and Taree.
The tournament was a great success, with up to 71 entries, so the event was born. Since that time, the event has continued to be a success, due to the dedication of, particularly, Allen, Peter Miller, Eddie Abbott, Nev Fox, John Gerits and numerous volunteers from the participating golf clubs. I should also not leave out the many local business sponsors, who have financially helped to make the tournament such a success.
Since the inclusion of Tallwoods about six years ago, the tournament is now called the Great Lakes/Manning Valley Veterans Week of Golf.
There are 45 events of this type for member veteran golfers throughout NSW, with over 14,000 members in NSW alone. All states have a Veterans Association, with over 40,000 members Australia wide.
How important is it for veterans to come together to participate in activities such as these?
Many friendships have evolved over the years from the competitions, and they are all played in the right spirit with some very keen competition. Some members do an annual circuit of country centres, to play in the tournaments and catch up with acquaintances they have made during their travels, which has become a lifestyle which creates a healthy and social environment.
What is the general level of experience of the players?
The experience of the male and female players ranges from very good to sociable, with handicaps ranging from the low markers to the maximum handicaps (which we run in three categories for the men in A, B & C Grades and A & B Grades for women (there is an extra Grade in the male category, as we receive more male entries). This makes the event open to all levels of experience to win prizes.
This year we also introduced a scratch event, to make it more open for the low markers.
Which golf courses across the Manning-Great Lakes participate in the tournament?
The event is run over 54 holes – three days of 18 holes, with an overall winner in both the ladies and men’s categories. The prize is donated by Tallwoods Verve Resort and will be accommodation at Tallwoods and rounds of golf at either Tallwoods or Harrington Waters.
Daily prizes are also for winners in each grade, with approximately 40 dozen balls also handed out as prizes. The total prizes are valued in excess of $4,000.
Registration day is Sunday 7 October at the Forster Golf Club, with the tournament starting on Monday.
Courses played at are as follows:
Monday 8 October at Tuncurry, Tuesday 9 October at Taree and Thursday 10 October at Tallwoods.
A medley will also be played on Friday 11 October at Forster, with prizes for the winners and runners up.
Does the week of golf help to boost local economy, with visitors spending money on entertainment and activities?
Because the tournament is held out of the Forster-Tuncurry area, all participants and visitors require accommodation by unit or caravan park for the week … this of generates a boost to the local economy in a number of areas, such as rentals, dining, social activities and general retail, in particular for our golf clubs.
We also know from past experience that people from Sydney who have played in the event have subsequently retired to the Great Lakes area.
What have been some tournament highlights over the years?
It is difficult to specifically identify many highlights over the years, except say that our feedback from most entrants is that our concept and the way the tournament is run is one of the best on the circuit.
I should mention that we have a number of people in their 80s who play, and last year a lady celebrated her 90th birthday during the event!
How can people register to enter?
Entry forms are available at the front desk of the Forster Golf Club, or phone Dick Taylor on 6555 6431 or myself on 6555 7287.
We also make donations to local charities such as Blackhead, Main Beach and Cape Hawke Surf Clubs, the Salvation Army and Riding for the Disabled.
Let’s hope for the great weather to continue at the time of the tournament.
Garry Tucker – Tournament Director and
Dick Taylor – Administrator.
This story was published in issue 68 of the Manning-Great Lakes Focus