Date: August 21, 2017
Author: Nick Hillyard

33 years and SMERGS still going strong

In 1984 at a Christmas street party in Artarmon, 6 intrepid sportsmen were discussing /lamenting the fact that with marriage and young children they could no longer play sports which required many hours away from home. They decided that they could play 9 holes of golf as long as they started at 6 a.m. on a Sunday and thus be back for the majority of the day.

And so was born the SMERGS ( Sunday Morning Early Riser Golf Society ) of "Royal" Northbridge. The club was first given the Royal warrant in 1988 when one of the Queen's Corgis was exercised on the public course and peed on the 18th green!

33 years later and we have just lost one of our loyal Founder Members, Phil Alexander, but with a further 10 players who have participated in more than 500 Smergs games the group still meets every week in the carpark of the host club before their route march to the furthest tee from the clubhouse, the 10th, to begin their weekly joust for the honour of receiving a ball from each participant and one lost shot. Some of the balls have also been around the houses for more than 20 years as well as the players.

In the inaugural year, the golf took 1.5 hours and the coffee 30 minutes. How times have changed, the golf still takes the same time but the coffee is now extended to up to 1.5 hours! The unique handicapping system which has survived the ravages of time and thus, old age, involves losing a shot for each victory but never being able to gain a shot. When a player with more than 10 appearances each year achieves a handicap of scratch each player receives an additional 10 shots. It's completely illogical and does not withstand mathematical scrutiny but it works.

Miss 4 weeks and you lose a shot so attendance is frequent. Banter is occasionally irreverent, disputes fit into the same category and Majors ( i.e. any event played anywhere over 18 holes ) are highly respected. The Smergs website:, covers it all.

Weekly nonsense played by dedicated lovers of camaraderie, golf and the occasional good shot.

That's the story of the Smergs who have a robust Club song, sung to the tune of I Still Call Australia Home, but with the word Northbridge replacing Australia. It has to be heard to be believed!