James Haigh may be just 20 years of age, but the young man has a great sense of respect and a strong regard for the importance of his family history. And that is why James, a 10-marker at Brisbane’s Oxley Golf Club, navigates the course in a 32-year-old three-wheeler golf cart that he inherited from his grandfather.
Officially, the vehicle is an E-Z-Go Marathon model, but members at Oxley refer to it as ‘that strange looking blue machine’. But now, after a recent makeover, it’s the blue machine in pristine condition.
James, a painter by trade, has spent the past 12 months restoring the cart and it is very much his pride and joy. And he is particularly proud of a couple of dents he decided to leave for posterity – dents his grandad left for him.
His grandfather was Jack Hynd, a 70-year member at Oxley who passed away in 2013. With such a long tenure, Jack was obviously well known and well respected around the club and in 1979, to honour his long and valued contribution, the Jack Hynd Grove was established on the seventh hole at Oxley.
Jack turned 66 in 1994, and he decided it was time to play golf in a cart. He quite liked the unusual appearance of the three-wheeler, which was in tip-top condition at the time.
Following his passing the blue machine sat in a garage at the family home for more than a year before James, who was a student at Kelvin Grove Golf School of Excellence at the time, started to use it. In the interim, it was home to Rolly, the family staffy, who had a fondness for chewing the seats.
By this time the cart was in some disrepair and as a salute to his grandad, towards whom James had a great affection, he decided to start the restoration project which took just on 12 months. He stripped it back to almost its bare bones.
“The running gear was still perfect, but the cart needed a general overhaul and clean up,” James explained. “I repainted it (in the colour Tractor Blue), bought new wheels, knocked out most of the dents and mum reupholstered the seats. The restoration cost about $1000, but we didn’t pay anyone. We did all the work ourselves.”
James is not certain of the rarity of the three-wheeler but does know of the existence of one other in Queensland.
“I found one advertised for sale when I was restoring mine, and was interested in buying it for parts,” he said. “At the time I called the guy, but didn’t have the money to buy it. When I did, it had been sold.”
James says that while people do admire the cart, the most-asked question is whether it is safe.
“For some strange reason people seem to think it will tip over,” he said.
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