land surveyor during a four-decade professional career, Rob Strutt was charged with measuring properties and blocks of land to determine specific boundaries.
Now, in the second year of his retirement, the rookie Brisbane Golf Club member remains attentive to dimensions and boundaries, but he doesn’t consider his new interest in any way related to work.
“What I most enjoy about golf is competing against the course, to test my composure and my mental strength,” said the soon-to-be 61 year-old who concedes he has been totally hooked by his new sporting interest.
“I have played footy, cricket and lawn bowls in the past and enjoyed them all, but golf is a totally different challenge. Those sports were man-on-man, team-on-team, but golf is simply about me competing against the course I am playing.
“And it is that self-regulation that I find such a great test of character.”
As a kid growing up in Tasmania Rob often joined his mates on the golf course hitting balls, but didn’t find it exciting and admits he had scant success. And it wasn’t until his retirement in December of 2015 that he seriously thought about having another crack.
“I live near Brisbane Golf Club and often when I drove by I’d think about the club, the facility and the game,” he said.
“A couple of my mates were members and played regularly, and had often extolled the virtues of the club. So I thought ‘why not?’.”
Rob decided that if he was going to take the plunge, he would do it properly. He enrolled in lessons with BGC teaching pro Lee Eagleton, with whom he immediately struck up a good relationship.
“After a couple of months of regular lessons and gaining some confidence in my game, Lee convinced me that I could play at a reasonable level and suggested I join the club,” Rob recalled.
“Having confidence in his opinion that was all the encouragement I needed. I nominated to join and within a month was accepted as a seven-day playing member.”
Rob started on a GA handicap of 27.9 and has already shaved that back to 21.2. His best result been 42 stableford points and just last week he shot 97, the first time he has broken through the golfer’s detested 100 barrier.
A GA handicap of 18 is now his goal, with 90 the new number to break. And he is hopefully of achieving both within the next six months.
While the superb condition of the course, the facilities, the mateship and the ease of the availability of a game at BGC is part of the appeal of being a member, Rob has been particularly blown away by the reciprocal rights available at other clubs, that members enjoy.
“My brothers, sisters, cousins and friends interstate are golfers and being able to join them for a game when I visit was another reason for taking up golf,” he said.
“But I had no idea about reciprocal rights, and how that system operated. The list of those clubs we have available as members at Brisbane is truly unbelievable and I have been treated just like a fully-fledged member at every single one I have visited.”
Those clubs have included Royal Canberra, Royal Adelaide, Kooyonga (SA) and Kingston Beach (Tasmania). And he has his sights set on taking on the likes of Bonnie Doon and St Michaels in Sydney, Melbourne’s Huntingdale and one of the three elite courses in Perth.
But it is still at home where Rob has his greatest enjoyment, regularly playing in the Wednesday and Saturday competitions, hitting balls on the practise fairway and enjoying the camaraderie and encouragement of ‘a great bunch of people’.
“I can’t express enough how much enjoyment and fulfilment joining the club has given me,” he said.
“And for those in my position, retired and looking for a new chapter in their lives, I urge them to do the same. My golf club membership has not been a cost, it’s been an investment.”