Date: November 24, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Golf Digest honors John Hopkins

Golf Australia chairman John Hopkins has won a lifetime achievement award at the prestigious Golf Digest Australia magazine awards in Sydney.

Hopkins, who has chaired the board of Golf Australia since 2011, has a 40-year history in golf administration beginning in Perth. He was acknowledged at a ceremony for Golf Digest's player of the year awards at the Sydney Cricket Ground this week.

Hopkins paid tribute to his many supporters, headed by wife Katrina and Golf WA's Greg Fitzhardinge during his speech.

"If I was acknowledging anyone — and those of you who've been around the traps for the last 30 years as I have — I'd have to acknowledge my very patient wife,'' he said. "I got back from a trip to Royal Adelaide last night at eight o'clock and I opened my suitcase, took out all the dirty clothes, threw in some clean clothes for this week and at eight o'clock this morning I flew back over here, so I couldn't have done any of this without strong support from my wife and family.

"The wonderful thing about this game — and I'm very humbled to be here with so many luminaries, so many people who are so passionate about the game — and I have to be quite selfish about this,

I've found that the more one puts into the game, the more that one gets out of it. It's exponential. So the more I put in it, selfishly, the more I've got out of it.''

Hopkins said he had merely provided guidance and leadership for "a terrific bunch of people, and we've got the most wonderful staff ably led by (GA chief executive) Stephen Pitt''.

His first involvement at the administrative level came when he was in his mid-30s at Nedlands Golf Club in Perth, where he became president and the to the executive committee of the WA state body for 20 years. In 1997 he became president of the Australian Golf Union, and his passion spread to the rules of the game, where he became a member of the R&A Rules Committee. He has refereed at many major championships including the Open Championship more than 10 times.

"This is the best game in the world, and it's got the best people in the world and it's just an absolute privilege to be associated with it,'' he said.