The people you meet at golf tournaments
By Paul Gueorgieff
Editor, Golfer Pacific NZ
Where are you from?
That’s a question that is often asked as we meet new people as we play golf tournaments.
It’s a question that is usually asked as polite conversation but can just as often provide very interesting answers.
I played a tournament, essentially a social event, on the Gold Coast in Queensland last April when that question was regularly asked as the players were from around Australia and more than a dozen of us from Wellington.
I had one interesting answer from an Aussie when I said I was from Wellington.
The Aussie said is Wellington in the top island or the bottom island?
Firstly this was question that I couldn’t care to answer. What did it matter if Wellington was in the top or bottom island, was my first reaction.
I relented and replied it was at the bottom of the top island. I thought that was a good reply because the Aussie would probably be confused with the use of the words top and bottom in the same sentence.
The Aussie was indeed confused because he then asked is that the island with Auckland in it.
This was even more infuriating for me as it made me think that the Aussie thinks New Zealand revolves around Auckland. Grrrrrrr, I said under my breath.
The Aussie was from Newcastle. I felt like asking is Newcastle on Australia’s big island or little island. I refrained from doing so, but only just.
But what I did say greatly impressed myself and it’s better to impress yourself than anybody else.
From my horse racing background I knew what a person from Newcastle is called. There are a lot of good horses and horse people from Newcastle and therefore became familiar with the name given to the inhabitant of Newcastle.
I said to the Newcastle golfer: “Ah, so you are a Novocastrian.’’
The Novocastrian golfer was indeed impressed. He said: “Most people guess Newcastleton or Newcastleite.”
I raised this conversation with my Wellington golf friends at a Malaysian restaurant in Surfers’ Paradise that night and we took the subject further.
Sydney, Melbourne, Manchester, Glasgow, Los Angeles — what do you call people from those cities. The answers are at the end of the column with Los Angeles perhaps the most intriguing.
At the same golf tournament a year earlier an Australian asked me where I was from.
I kept it simple and replied New Zealand. The Aussie said whereabouts in New Zealand?
I didn’t feel like replying because I thought he would only say where’s that but I said Wellington.
The Aussie said whereabouts in Wellington? I thought this is becoming stupid. Nobody from outside New Zealand asks whereabouts in Wellington.
I replied Lower Hutt, thinking that would surely bring an end to the questions. But it wasn’t. The Aussie asked whereabouts in Lower Hutt.
I said you have to be joking? I said I live in Kelson.
To my amazement he said: “Ah yes, I know, Kelson. I used to live in Taita.’’
Kelson and Taita are two Hutt Valley suburbs, about 10 minutes drive apart. You could have blown me over with a feather.
I saw the same man at the latest golf tournament and now call him the Taita man.
This story also reminds me of another occasion when I was an international flight away from Australia and New Zealand.
A god damn American woman seated alongside me asked where I was from. When I said New Zealand she replied: “Ah, I’ve been to Sydney.’’
I was puzzled by her reply. Should I tell her that Sydney and New Zealand are separated by a big pool of water?
Or should I ask: “The United States, is that the place below Canada?’’
Now for the what you call someone answers. A person from Sydney is called a Sydneysider, a person from Melbourne is a Melburnian, a person from Manchester is a Mancunian, a person from Glasgow is a Glaswegian and a person from Los Angeles is an Angeleno.