Story and Photos by Noel Rowsell.
A capacity crowd of 200 people attended the 50th Anniversary Dinner of the incorporation of Leonay GC / Emu Sports Club, celebrating the golfers who have excelled or simply been highly valued members during that era.
Master of Ceremonies Chris Levy was in charge of proceedings, with Leonay legend Ray Dukes, former (and first) Golf Club Professional Len Beck and Golf Club President and Emu Sports Director David Grosse all providing in-depth insights into the past and the future of the club.
‘Golden Girls’ Gloria Pearce, Judy Gatty and Pat Alsford had been inseparable companions when playing members of the Club but had subsequently each moved to various locations in the state.
Their reunion on Friday night obviously rekindled all of those fond memories and the three were again inseparable on the night, re-living past glories both on and off the course.
Former Club Champions David Burston and Jason Richardson were also welcome faces on the night, with Richardson combining earlier in the day with Matthew Knox, Matthew Spithill and Paul Merrick to win the 4-Person Ambrose.
Those four players were coincidentally also members of a ‘star’ Leonay Junior Pennant Team during the mid-to-late 80’s.
Burston was yet another legend at Leonay, winning a number of Club Championships, including the foursomes with Ray Dukes in 1976, 80, 81 & 84, followed by a win in ’95 with Trevor Ridge. Burston was the Club Champion in 1978 and won the Juniors from 1971 to 1976 inclusive in addition to playing both Major and Junior Pennants.
Burston also spent a number of years serving on the Board of Sports Club and acted as the Club’s Honorary Solicitor for a number of years.
Penrith City Mayor Ross Fowler opened proceedings and impressed the audience with his knowledge of both the Golf Club and the district.
Bruno Zuliani and his band Peppi Renata played at regular intervals during the night, which finished on a high with Ladies GC captain Julie Sutcliffe and Men’s Vice President Les Knox cutting the ceremonial cake.
Many travelled long distances to attend the event, with Len Beck and former member Trevor Ridge both travelling from Queensland.
Ridge worked on the golf course for many years and along with representing Leonay in Major Pennants, Junior and Mixed Pennants,won a number of Club Championships.
Ian Asbury (whose father Mick is a life Member) was another former member to travel a long distance, travelling up from the South Coast.
It was a great gesture for Asbury, who was scheduled to play the third round of his current Club Championship the following day.
Asbury was leading his Championships by two shots and again, coincidentally, was another player that had represented Leonay in all form of Pennants and won Club Championships.
Photo at top: Emu Sports Club Director Brendan McKeowen, Penrith City Mayor Ross
Fowler, Emu Sports Club Director Sam Barbaro & wife Karen.