Speeches

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Reception for Royal Adelaide Golf Club


Rod and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House to recognise the Centenary of the Royal Adelaide Golf Club being granted royal status.

We also do so as enthusiastic “playing” patrons, regularly seen over the past twelve months using the practice facilities at Seaton on Fridays and increasingly venturing onto the course.

We can’t say that we are quite ready to sign up for competitions, but Chris Crocker’s expert tuition and guidance is proving invaluable.

We can at least say we are now spending more time on the fairways than in the rough!

The best endorsement of any course is that from those who have played it and Rod and I can only agree with one testimonial which said the design of Royal Adelaide demands equal parts heroics, caution, application and an understanding of how well you are playing it.

Unlike most of our guests, we have played only a few other courses including Tanunda Pines, South Lakes at Goolwa, Victor Harbor, Alice Springs and Darwin.

We already know, and I am sure you will all concur that you don’t need to play other courses to know that the best course is Royal Adelaide. After all it’s one of the top 100 golf courses in the world.

But a great club is more than just its greens, fairways and bunkers. It is its people.

Rod and I were struck from the outset by how welcoming members are to newcomers, particularly to complete beginners like us who struggled to hit the ball, let alone hit it straight.

The staff in the pro shop, the green keepers, the clubhouse, front and back office staff have all been unfailingly polite, helpful, knowledgeable and supportive.

The Club’s leadership has been forward-thinking, proactive, inclusive and engaging, as evidenced by the fact that you were the first of the three Royal Golf Clubs in Australia to bring women’s golf under the same governance body as the men. Congratulations!

Having spent time with you at the Women’s Golf Annual Meeting and the Santorini under the Stars annual members dinner as well as after our games, Rod and I know there is great camaraderie and pride in the club.

Membership of Royal Adelaide is highly sought after and rightly so.

Golf, it is often said, requires a long view, tenacity and persistence. And all that was certainly required in the quest for the Royal prefix.

It involved, over some 26 years, entreaties to South Australian Governors Lord Tennyson and Sir George LeHunte, a hope to piggy back off the visit to Australia by the then Duke of Cornwall and York, picking the brains of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, and having a prominent contact in Governor Lt Gen Sir Tom Bridges’ private secretary who was coincidentally a 10 times club champion.

After all, Royal Melbourne and Royal Sydney golf clubs had been granted the royal prefix by Queen Victoria before the turn of the Century.

Adelaide was determined to not play third fiddle and the long game paid off in 1923!

Since then, Royal Adelaide has been the venue for myriad international and interstate championships including hosting nine Open Championships of Australia and 16 Amateur Championships.

Friends,

We all know that golf is much more than a game or a quest for fitness.

On the course friendships are made, business contacts forged, skill is tested.

I know that Rod and I enjoy our time together on the course away from the emails, phone calls and other intrusions.

Yet, the essence of a golf club transcends its fairways and clubhouse. It rests with its members and their desire to create a welcoming environment, notwithstanding friendly rivalry!

In that regard, I thank the board, members of the various committees and other volunteers whose passions have been at the heart of the Club since inception through to today.

You are the lifeblood of Royal Adelaide.

Well played for the past 100 years and may the future always lie well.