Cromwell’s Kevin Hurley has spent six decades devoting his spare time to golf, a feat recently recognised by his clubmates.
Hurley, who was introduced to the sport at the age of 10, has been made a life member of the Cromwell Golf Club, the 19th person to receive the accolade.
Despite his love of the sport, his initial introduction to it was one of bribery, he said.
“[I was] a naughty boy,” he explained, when asked how he became involved.
“There were four of us one Sunday evening. We started riding bikes through the bunkers. I had a borrowed bike. We were ripping across the green and the local policeman, who was a golfer, caught up with us. So, it was either turn up on Saturday [to be caddies] or he would visit our fathers.”
Hurley took the caddy option, which later developed into a playing role.
“I struggled to start with because I was left-handed and left-handed clubs were very few and far between.”
However, a purchase of left-handed clubs made his life easier and has since resulted in a regular round of golf up to two times a week.
Hurley and his wife, Gloria, moved to Cromwell from Dunedin in 1978.
He has been senior champion 12 times, has also won “a number” of mixed competitions and has accomplished seven holes-in-one, including on all the current par-threes.
Although they are moments that remain etched in his memory, one of his most memorable golfing highlights over the years was being runner-up to Ron Timms in the senior championships at St Clair – just before Timms turned professional.
Hurley took him to the last hole and later caddied for Timms during his exhibition match against Sir Bob Charles in Timaru.
It is the social aspect he enjoys most about the sport.
The club, which is home to about 250 golfers, celebrated Hurley’s achievements at a recent ceremony.
Outgoing club president Wayne Dixon said Hurley’s contributions to golf had not just been restricted to the course.
“He was president of the Cromwell Club in 1996 and has had nearly three stints as club captain.
“Kevin has also taken an active role in course working bees and over the years could often be seen pruning, spraying or overseeing the burning of dead trees [and] prunings, etc.”
Hurley has also been among those who have organised Wednesday golf matches.