• Loddon Herald

Legend of the course


KEITH Bird has been playing the Wedderburn course for almost 60 years.

A hole-in-one, 26 club championships, a few tournament wins and a career-low handicap of three have made Keith a legend of the club.

“I started playing seriously in about 1962. My father played golf, my mother took up the sport and my younger brothers and sister too ... it was a gradual process for the whole family,” he said.

“We didn’t talk about much else other than golf at the dinner table.

“And I’ve got lucky a few times. Had a hole-in-one on what was then the 15th hole (now the 16th) in 1968, both my wife Glenda and mother also had holes-in-one. Dad missed out I think.”

But Keith says he hasn’t kept count of championship and tournament wins.

“You’re only as good as your next one,” said Keith who these days plays off a local handicap of 10, “I’ve drifted out a few strokes over the last two or three years.”

Keith has also shared great occasions on the Wedderburn course, playing with David Cooper the day he hit a course record 64 in 1973 and then a few years later with Ben Miles when he hit 63. “They were both wet days, too,” said Keith.

The former club president and captain - he was at the helm when Wedderburn hosted the Victorian Men’s Sand Scrape Championships in 1998 - is looking forward to the 100th tournament.

“It brings visitors from north and south of Wedderburn. We’re ideally located and the climate and the grass make for good golf,” he said,

“And it’s a nice course to play. That’s why there are always good quality fields, particularly in the open event. Most of the top players from Bendigo come and there’s also been quite few from Maryborough in recent years.”

Keith has a few words of advice for golfers at this year’s tournament - be careful on the 15th hole.

“It was a par four, and became a longer par four that at other clubs could be a par five. Unless you get a good drive, the tree in the middle might give you grief,” he said.

“Years ago course curator Joe Johns, who always mowed the course beautifully, drilled some holes (in the trunk) and for a few years the tree look quite sick. Then it sprouted again and is now bushier than ever.”

Keith says the Wedderburn club and the tournament have been well served for more than a century by the wonderful volunteer spirit. “And of all the names on our club honour boards, there’s only a few I have not known,” Keith said.

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