The Central Otago Veterans’ Golfers are a bunch of blokes teeing off on a country course, capping the game off with a laugh and cold one. In Central Otago, the monthly get-togethers are a must-do on the golfing calendar and while theoretically the age limit for people to join is 50, the blokes told us they ‘‘don’t limit anybody’’. Reporter Shannon Thomson joined the group for their monthly game in Tarras last month.
Tarras Golf Course is not your average course.
The fairways are rolling hills maintained by grazing sheep, and the greens are fenced — not your typical hazards.
Tarras golfer Doug Wilson said that was part of the appeal.
‘‘Tarras is unique because it’s a country course . . .but I’ve always said every course is different,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of people don’t like playing at Tarras because it’s not like Wanaka — flat and perfect — but it’s the same for everyone so you play your game of golf according to the conditions.’’
Wilson is part of Central Otago Veterans Golf — a bunch of blokes playing a different course each month.
Wilson has been playing with the vets for ‘‘about 10 years’’.
‘‘You meet all these old guys from different clubs and again it’s the social thing, and it doesn’t matter if you have a s. . . . round or a good round,’’ he said.
Secretary-treasurer Les Topping, of Cromwell, said players came from throughout Central Otago, the Maniototo and Queenstown.
‘‘The beauty of it is you get to play classic wee courses, the likes of Tarras, Omakau, Roxburgh, [courses] people may not normally get to play and they’re classic wee courses.’’
The first Monday of each month, the day starts with morning tea — every one brings a plate — and a cuppa before hitting the course.
It was a bit old-fashioned but everyone brought a plate, Topping said.
‘‘One of our guys came in today — his missus had made a tray of mousetraps — [he] dumped the mousetraps out here and said ‘sorry guys I’m double booked, got to go’. That’s what happens.
‘‘And everyone has a great feed afterwards because they all bring enough to feed three people.’’
There was a lot of talk about the food — the mousetraps were pretty good — but the vets were more than just a good feed, they provided social interaction and promoted smaller golf clubs, Topping said.
‘‘You play these different courses which [you] would normally not go and play unless you’ve made a special effort,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s good camaraderie within this, and it’s good fun.’’
They are always looking for more people and it does not matter where they are from — even Aucklanders are permitted.
‘‘There’s no membership, just turn up one day, or turn up every month of the year.’’
For Cromwell golfer Lester Scott, it was a love of the game of golf that enticed him back each month to tackle a different course with the vets.
‘‘[Golf] can bite you on the ass one week and then not the next,’’ he joked.
‘‘This course [Tarras] bites you on the ass every time.’’
Î To find out about Central Otago Veterans Golf, contact your nearest golf club.