The Cut : The Cut - Winter 2017
GOLF & LEISURE 65 I t’s nearly 60 years since Sir Bob Charles turned professional and became the standard-bearer for New Zealand golfers on the world stage. Looking back from this distance, that seemed a logical move for someone who had won the NZ Open Championship in 1954 at age 18, but it nearly came adrift at the start. He applied to join the PGA of New Zealand in November 1960 before embarking on an overseas tour. The problem was, despite Charles’ stellar amateur career and the wealth of international experience he had accumulated during it, he didn’t fit the rules then laid down by the PGA, which required a lengthy apprenticeship period before anyone could be accepted into the professional ranks. The annual Caltex tournament was being played at Paraparaumu Beach at the time and, fortunately, the great Australian golfer Peter Thomson was able to guide the PGA through the correct procedures, resulting in them accepting Charles as a probationary professional and providing him with a letter of support to help him enter events in South Africa, the UK and the USA. Without that support and guidance, who knows where Sir Bob’s career might have gone. But golf in this country was the ultimate beneficiary, not only through Thomson’s sage advice, but through the recognition New Zealand golf received thanks to Sir Bob’s heroics and his contribution to the game, which continues to this day. Dial forward 50 years from that 18-year-old’s victory in his country’s Open, to a six-year-old girl at Pupuke Golf Club whose interest and enthusiasm was noted and nurtured by PGA professional Guy Wilson – to the point where Lydia Ko became the talk of the golfing world, our only world number- one ranked player and a dual Major championship winner at age 19.
The Cut - Autumn 2017
The Cut - Spring 2017