Date: February 14, 2017
Author: Dave Tease

Fond farewell for rules man Clark

It has always been about playing by the Rules for Rod Clark. Whatever the sport, whatever the game.

Sadly, after a career that has spanned six versions of the Rules of Golf, Rod has decided to call it a day and retire. Not a bad tenure in a job that the man affectionately known around the office as 'Kenny Rogers' stumbled into.

"I started out as an insurance clerk; I had a few jobs, different positions before this,"

"I thought I might enjoy working at the Junior Foundation, but the President of the NSWGA had other ideas,"

'I ended up running the Social Golf League,"

"When it was eventually wound up, I ended up doing the Rules," he smiled.

Clark has been administering the Rules of our great game for over 20 years as Manager of Rules and Handicapping at Golf NSW. He's been the voice of logic and the final arbiter for plenty of committee men and women who have faced a weekend competition rules dilemma. Mondays are always busy in Rod's office here at Golf NSW H.Q.

"To me, it's logical to have an awareness of the rules of the sport you are playing," Clark said. "That's a natural thing."

"Any sport I've played or been involved in I've learnt the rules. Cricket, soccer. When you played, you would have to referee or umpire. You had to do your share," he said.

Clark's work with the Rulebook has allowed him to see many of Australia's great players, as well as one or two global stars.

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" I've officiated at Men's and Women's Australian Opens since 1998. I've seen them all, Peter Senior, Baddeley, Pampling, Karrie Webb, Laura Davies…"

Clark was the walking Rules Official at The Lakes Golf Club the day the John Daly famously walked off the course after losing seven balls in the water on the infamous par-5 11th hole.

"I had to have the presence of mind to say to him; John, you've still got someone's card. Can you sign up to where you are up to," Clark said. "He was all right in the heat of it all; he did what had to be done,"

A 50-year member of North Ryde Golf Club, Clark has lived all his life around the Ryde/ Putney area. His relationship with the Golf Club is one he cherishes.

"I've done everything there, won the Junior Championship, Club Champs, Foursomes Champs. I've represented the club in Juniors, Eric Apperly Shield, Major Pennant, the Masters Pennant,"

These days Clark plays off a handicap of 12.9. It's a mark he's a tiny bit embarrassed about.

"I used to play off two in the 1970's" he grinned." Age does weary you, the ability has gone backwards over the years."

Clark and his wife are planning a move North in retirement. Plenty of golf at Stockton is on the agenda. So too, a touch of fishing and long walks on the beach with his pet dog.

Life has been pretty good. But I always reckoned I should've been a lawyer; I can argue anything." Clark laughed.