THERE can be few better ways for older golfers to play competitive but friendly golf at some of Sydney’s best courses than by joining the Sydney Veteran Golfers Association (SVGA).
The association boasts more than 1,000 members and each year organises over 40 events in the greater Sydney area.
Members can play most of the best courses Sydney has to offer and usually at very attractive discounted rates.
The other big positive is that you are playing with fellow club golfers aged 55 years and over in a very social environment devoid of any elitism.
ASG visited with the Sydney Vets at their recent event at the spectacularly located The Coast Golf Club at Little Bay in the city’s eastern suburbs.
It was a very blustery morning but the Vets turned out to be a very friendly bunch who didn’t let the difficult golfing conditions get in the way of having a great time.
The Coast course sits right atop the cliffs on Sydney’s rugged southern coastline and a strong gusting wind blowing straight off the ocean certainly made things interesting.
But so too was the company. We played in a foursome with the SVGA Captain John Newberry, from Cumberland Golf Club, Ian Baker of Palm Beach GC, and Rick Butler, a member of the adjoining St. Michaels Golf Club.
On the other side of St Michaels is one of Australia’s acknowledged best courses, the NSW Golf Club. All three of these coast hugging courses feature in the Sydney Vets annual schedule, along with the likes of Mona Vale, Riverside Oaks, Concord, Cumberland, Avondale, Long Reef, Oatlands, Ashlar, Lynwood, Kooinda Waters, Twin Creeks, Killara, Bonnie Doon, Rosnay and a heap of other great venues, over 40 in all.
Perhaps the only top courses missing from the schedule are The Lakes, which is no longer a very veteran friendly layout, The Australian Golf Club and Royal Sydney, which haven’t really come to the friendly green fees party.
The others are very happy to have the usually full 144 starter fields of well behaved, course conscious older golfers.
The Sydney Veteran Golfers Association was established in 1986, one of the first official veteran golfing organisation in the country.
It is affiliated with the NSW Veteran Golfers Association, meaning members also have access to the 50 odd Weeks of Golf conducted across the state and to other national and interstate veteran golf events.
Membership is open to affiliated club members who hold a Golf Australia handicap and are aged over 55. It costs just $30 a year with a one off $30 joining fee.
John Newberry has been the Captain for 16 years and is proud of what the association has achieved and of the continuing service it offers members.
Members range across the handicap spectrum and come from all walks of life, from doctors and lawyers to labourers and factory workers.
“It is a terrific group of blokes and we do go away for two country trips each year as well,” John said.
Members mostly come from across the Sydney region but there are a few who commute from areas like Wollongong, Moss Vale and the central coast.
There are also some continuing members who have moved further afield, one to Singapore and one to India, but as John says: “We don’t tend to see them very often.”
No doubt those international members don’t want to cut their ties to an organisation that over the years has developed some true and lasting bonds and friendships.
New members are always welcome and for details of how to join and other information go to the Sydney Veteran Golfers Association website here.