A golfing tip from Geraldton in Western Australia

By Paul Gueorgieff
Editor, Golfer Pacific NZ

One of my daughters, Kate, got married in Western Australia a couple of months ago.
Kate lives in a place called Geraldton, which is more than 400km north of Perth. It’s a coastal city with a population of about 40,000.
Kate is not a golfer but, ironically for me, she was married at a golf course, between the first and 18th fairways of Geraldton Golf Club.
The reception was also held at the golf course but because of the very warm weather there was no need to head indoors. Instead the reception was in a marquee pitched outside the practice putting green and many of the ladies in high heels created numerous aeration holes that the greenkeeper would not have planned on.
While I was in Geraldton I had six rounds of golf — one of which was stupidly the day after the wedding.
And during those six rounds, I was reminded of something that I have encountered every time I play with Australians.
It was a very simple thing but a good thing. The person whose ball is closest to the hole on the putting green always holds the flagstick.
Only once in the 108 holes I played was the flagstick laid down on the green. On that occasion one of our group had hit his ball close to the hole and while we other three were still arriving at the green after looking for a ball he decided to knock the ball in.
The procedure of passing the flagstick to the person nearest the hole, or the first to hole out, is something I have noticed is common every time I play with Australians. It’s not something I find is common in New Zealand.
Earlier this year our golf club spent nearly $4000 on new flagsticks and cups. The money was raised from club members and I need to say that much of it came from two of the ladies’ adjuncts.
The flagsticks had built-in prisms to make the use of laser range finders much easier and they were made of stiff material to ensure that would remain upright in Wellington’s winds. In addition the cups were made of zinc which made them heavier and therefore more stable in the ground. In other words they were pretty flash.
Just a few days after we got the new sticks and cups, our club staged the Wellington Strokeplay Championship.
Virtually all the best golfers in Wellington were in attendance but I was horrified at the way many treated the flagsticks. They were often thrown to the ground, not just by the younger players but those more senior too. Culprits had to be reminded to take more care.
As a result of my trip to Geraldton I recommended to our club that we adopt the procedure of someone always holding the pin. I’ll be interested to see how it is received.