By Larry Canning
THE name Hugh Dolan may not strike fear into the hearts of some Australian golfers but when it comes to his colleagues on the EZ-GO Australian PGA Legends Tour, Hugh commands a great deal of respect. Mainly because,(to borrow an American golfing cliché), Hugh can really play his ball!
This 5 and a half foot dynamo has been belting up blokes twice his size for a few years now and has absolutely no intention of being intimidated by any of the big names. He’s played the European, Asian and now Australian PGA Senior Tours, competed in British Senior Opens alongside Jack Nicklaus and regularly beats the likes of Rodger Davis, Wayne Grady and Mike Harwood and all with an absolute minimum of fuss. This former Taswegion also tells a great yarn…particularly after a couple of red wines. I recently opened a beautiful bottle of Vintage Penfolds Lip Loosener and Hughy didn’t disappoint.
Larry – “Hugh, like most of us middle aged golf pro’s you probably had something resembling a normal life before golf?”
Hugh – “Actually, when I was 12 years old, I could sing a bit. I entered a big Eisteddfod in the Blue Mountains and won!”
Larry – “Wow! what did you sing?
Hugh – (After a slight hesitation and another sip of red..) “The Muffin Man”.
Sadly for Hugh, there were another 12 people in the room including six middle aged Golf Pro’s, who were all now jumping over each other to take the wee wee out of our fallen hero. He needed a quick deflection so I asked him if he’d played any other sports?
Hugh – “Just after I became a golf pro, I met this bloke who had some pacers and he needed someone to ride them. I had a crack and went OK. Soon after, I actually won a race I was literally off and running. My first dabble in the big stuff came not long after when I was on a two year old called Winmack at Penrith Raceway and I was in the lead coming into the straight. I could hear this horse come up behind me and I turned to see it was being driven by one of the biggest names in the game at the time. Just as he got in front of us, my horse decided he wasn’t interested in second and decided to go! My colleague yelled out … ‘Pull your horse up!’….. As I was a sensible and considerate young man, I responded with … ‘Get out of the bloody way!’…. The next thing I know this bloke has gone, Bang! right on my horses snout with his whip. My horse went straight down, I yelled ‘@#%& !! I’m going to die!’ As I flew up out of my seat!
“Somewhow I managed to get back in the gig and pull my horses head up and we were both saved.”
Larry – “What was your first reaction when the race was over?”
Hugh – “@#%& this… Now where did I put my golf clubs?”
Larry – “You were the Club Professional at a couple of very prestigious clubs?”
Hugh – “Yes I was the Professional at Royal Hobart and then Brisbane Golf Club for a number of years.”
Larry – “I imagine you would have come across some high rollers and VIP’s during that time … Any troublesome ones?”
Hugh – “I met some great people but yes, there were a couple that were hard work. This one bloke named Sam from Royal Hobart was a good bloke but… I think, because he owned pubs he didn’t seem to trust anyone though. One day he walked into the shop and told me his Golden Ram 4 iron had been stolen from his bag. It was pretty obvious no-one would walk past his set, leave his expensive putter, driver or for that matter, the entire set, and just choose his 4 iron to steal, but he was insistent. He’d obviously left it on the course or shared a golf cart with someone recently. Anyway, he told me to order another with exactly the same specs. I knew his original one would turn up soon, so I pretended to order the new one, explaining it had to come from the States and would take time. Sure enough two weeks later, in strolls a friendly bloke holding a Golden Ram 4 iron in his hand saying he found it near the 14th tee and had forgotten to bring it in.”
“I handed it to Sam the next day, telling him it had been found on the course. He looked me straight in the eye and said – ‘sn’t that amazing. That mongrel knocked it off then lost it out on the course!’
I could go on with more of my little mates stories but this month’s column would read more like “50 Shades of Hugh”.
In fact, all the lads on the EZ-GO Legends PGA Tour have a yarn or three to share from being nearly catapulted from a harness at Harold Park to rolling a V8 Super Car eight times during the Bathurst 1000. You can also ask what it’s like to win an Australian Open or come within one shot of winning the British Open.
Why don’t you take a squizz on the PGA website and check out where the boys are playing next?