We’d all like to be still playing golf at 100, but few actually achieve it. That’s the reality, so for Peter Hendry, it has been a special time.
Hendry, who turned 100 this month, has been a fixture at Newcastle Golf Club in New South Wales for more than 40 years.
Members celebrated the occasion with a function in his honor, but a bout of pneumonia in the lead-up took him away from the golf course and to hospital, threatening the celebrations.
Ultimately he was released from hospital and while he was unable to take up his customary Wednesday tee time, Hendry attended the lunch in his honor. “He was very ill but on the day, he just walked right on in,’’ said Paul Foulcher, the club’s general manager. “We had a wonderful day. We had around 100 members in the clubhouse.’’
The occasion was marked with the presentation of personal letters and signed photographs from Jack Nicklaus and Peter Thomson, while Arnold Palmer also has since sent his congratulations.
Hendry has been a member at Newcastle for 47 years, playing on Wednesdays and Saturdays before dropping back to once-a-week play in recent times.
“For his 99th birthday he got a new pair of shoes from his daughter, and he’s working on wearing those out,’’ said Foulcher. “When he turned 99, he dropped back to just Wednesday’s, because he said he didn’t want to hold up the field.’’
His daughter, Rosemary Reeves, said golf had always been of the utmost importance to her father. "That's his measure of life, the fact that he can still play golf,'' she said. "He loves it. He's a stoic person and he loves the camaraderies and the friendships he's made at the club over the years. It's what he thrives on.''
Hendry has had a colourful life, working as a doctor then serving in the second World War, where he was captured and sent to the Burma Railway.
He told fellow-members the club was his “home away from home”.
Hendry has not played since his illness but no one is writing off his return to Newcastle, one of Australia’s best courses.