One of the more defining images of New Zealand golf

 Bob Charles and his wife Verity pose with The Open Championship trophy in 1963

Bob Charles and his wife Verity pose with The Open Championship trophy in 1963

By Dean Murphy
New Zealand Golf Chief Executive

During corporate planning exercises, employees are often asked to present one image that defines their company.
A picture, of course, is worth a thousand words and this exercise is a useful way for people to consider the perception, image, values and personality of their company.
Recently, I have had opportunity to go through this exercise in relation to the game of golf. While it’s easy to go for dramatically beautiful golfing landscapes or images of golfers playing and having fun together, for me there is one image that sums up the game of golf perfectly.
It is the picture of Sir Bob Charles and Lady Verity with The Open Championship trophy in 1963. For me, this image has everything.
When I look at this picture I see all sorts of things. Dedication, professionalism, honour, family, pride, enjoyment and humbleness. I also see immaculate presentation and a good deal of joy. These are all features of this great game and if ever I need to think of all that is good about golf, I refer to this image.
While this is a historical image, Sir Bob is far from a man of the past. These days he is as active as ever and is full of ideas and thoughts on how to take this great game into the future. In particular he has a strong passion for speeding up the pace of play and simplifying the rules of golf.
I love that about Sir Bob and every time I look back at the Open Championship photo from 53 years ago, I wonder if he could have contemplated that all these years later he would still be living and breathing the game as much as he still does.
That is what is unique about golf. It’s a game that continues to uniquely enrich the lives of its participants. No other sport has what we have and we should all celebrate this.
With this in mind, it was fitting that Sir Bob was recently elected to the position of patron for New Zealand Golf. Always the consummate professional, Sir Bob has been a significant part of the golfing landscape in New Zealand and it was with great honour that we announced his acceptance of this distinguished role.
The position was left vacant after the late Sir Thomas Gault sadly passed away in May, 2015. Justice Gault had been a life member of New Zealand Golf for more than 20 years and held the position of New Zealand Golf patron for 22 years.
Sir Bob is of course one of the world’s most renowned and popular golfers, becoming Champion Golfer of the Year in 1963. He won nearly 80 titles around the world and in the New Year Honours of 1999, Charles was appointed a knight companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit for services to golf. Charles was admitted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008 and has also recently become the newest honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
To this day, Sir Bob continues to have a significant impact and influence in a number of areas across the golfing industry. Outside of his playing career, Sir Bob has always taken a keen interest in the development of the game of golf here at home. As he continued his golfing success into his senior years, winning over 20 times on the Senior Tour, he donated a significant part of his earnings to New Zealand Golf. Since 2008, the Charles Tour has grown to become an important tournament series that prepares our best amateurs and young professionals for a successful life on tour.
Thank you Sir Bob. For me you epitomise all that is good about our great game and we are thankful for your continued input and guidance.