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Veterans Golf Club of Victoria

Some history of our golf club

From a talk by Captain Harold Hayes at the Club's annual dinner in December 21018

The Victorian Vets is almost certainly the oldest Veteran Golf Club in Australia

It was formed in Oct 1949 by a group of enthusiastic "Gentlemen Golfers", aged 60 or more most of who are thought to have been War Service Veterans.

The original objects of the club were to promote good fellowship and companionship amongst Veteran Golfers, to conduct golf games, matches and competitions in conditions that complied with the requirements of the Victoria Golf Association and to provide social functions.

These objects are much the same as those we operate today.

The inaugural meeting of 28 ex-servicemen was held in the offices of Mr S (Sam) A. Cheney who at that time owned the leading Vauxhall Motor Car Dealership located in Flinders Street Melbourne - very close to the old Sun Herald Offices/Building.

I am certain many Veteran's will remember the Vauxhall car and the name S.A Cheney (Holden acquired that dealership many years later) and even today the name of Patterson Cheney is still one of the leading Holden dealerships.

His daughter Burtta was an outstanding lady golfer. She was Australian Champion in 1957, Victorian Champion 3 times and Club Champion at Huntindale 18 times as well as numerous other distinctions.

At the Club's inception in 1949 Sam Cheney was President and later held the position of Captain and Patron for many years. The AGM and all meetings were always held in the Flinders Street Boardroom of Cheneys Motors and the hospitality that followed was appropriate.

In 1951 the clubs bank balance was £28 ($56 but worth far more now) with a membership of approx 60. Membership was pegged at 140 and this meant there was a waiting list to join with waits of up to 6/9 months.

Monthly events were held at Spring Valley and later extended to other courses. The events catered for Veteran Golfers from both the VGA and VGL.

From 1950/1, the club played for the Sun Pictorial Cup (which later became The Sun Pictorial for Seniors) and according to the minute books from 1949 this event was played at Yarra Yarra Golf Club in 1951 and Victoria Golf Course in 1952.

After the 1951 event was completed, the committee decided that this event would change from the busy Melbourne Cup period and that the event would be played over 2 days with "one week between each play"

In its earlier years before the foundation of Veterans Golf Associations in country areas, the club had members as far afield as Wodonga and Merino (about 80km North of Portland).

In 1984 a group of our members formed the Victorian Veterans Golf Association which is now the controlling body for all Veteran's golf around Victoria.

Until the early nineties,the playing format comprised 9 holes followed by a sit down collar and tie lunch, then the second nine holes followed completing the day.

Also in the early 90's one of members, life member "Alf Jones" was invited to play in the World Veteran Championships held in USA.

He led the field for the 1st two days but sadly his physical condition deterioated on Day 3 when he could barely walk (no ride on buggies were allowed ). He eventually finished in 3rd place 3 strokes behind the winner.

When one considers that Alf was afflicted with polio at an early age and had permanent limp it shows what a fantastic effort and achievement it was!"

For over 50 years the club was a donor to the Royal Childrens Hospital. The donation was $250.00 per year on Good Friday.

Since 1992 our club has been a regular participator in 2 official Victorian Veteran Golf Association events:

  1. In March: a 4 BBB event
  2. and in September: a three man Teams event.

In conclusion many of our Monthly events are named after Life members who donated so much time and effort to the success of the club.

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

This Group included Alf Jones (a Life Member), Bill Edgar, Victorian Amateur Champion for many years plus several outstanding business men/golfers.