Sanctuary Cove’s 92-year-old club champion

Photo: PGA Australia

WHEN it comes to stories about inspiring golfing longevity it’s hard to beat the Gold Coast’s Alan Welch – both on and off the course.

Last Sunday the 92 year old got a standing ovation when he won the Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club’s C Grade Club Championship.

Alan won his third and final match 4&3 to secure the title against an opponent 32 years his junior.

As golf writer Tony Webeck reported on the PGA Australia website:

“A founding member of Latrobe Golf Club as a 17-year-old, Alan’s golf accomplishments abound with club championships and foursomes victories over the past eight decades but at Sanctuary Cove on Sunday evening, as he made his way through the crowd from the back of the room, something beautifully spontaneous happened.

One by one members stood to applause, as much in recognition of Alan’s most recent triumph as for the inspiration and joy he brings to members of all ages.”

Following the win Alan was flooded with congratulations, well wishes and emails.

“I felt almost embarrassed because while I’m the age that I am I’m still pretty fit,” he said.

Alan was coached in his early golfing career by legendary Australian figure Ossie Pickworth and he estimates he has broken his age 80-odd times, including 18 times in 2020 alone.

He shot rounds of 99 and 97 to qualify for the match play section of the championships, his 62-year-old opponent in round one of the match play the oldest competitor he faced.

A three-times a week golfer at Sanctuary Cove that includes a weekly hit with the ‘Early Birds’, Alan regularly plays with young tour players such as Anthony Quayle, Charlie Dann and Kade McBride.

Along with the exercise, golf helps to keep him young at heart and provides an example to other older members within the club.

“I received numerous e-mails from people and said that if my win can inspire other senior people then I’m very happy about that,” Alan adds.

“I wouldn’t be able to play if we couldn’t use carts but even getting in and out of the cart, walking from the green to the tee, I think it keeps you healthy.

“If I can encourage and inspire other people to get out I’m very pleased with that. It’s a great game, I’ve played it all those years and you meet a lot of nice people.”

Alan is confident he will be back in 2022 to defend his title.

“I intend to keep playing as long as I can swing a golf club,” said Alan, who celebrated his win with a couple of drinks in the clubhouse and a game at Links Hope Island on Monday.

“I got an email from some friends who have left the club and I said to them it might be time to give it away and go out on a high.

“But I also said, ‘Never say never.’

“If I’m fit this time next year I think I’d still be playing in it.”

Leave a Reply