Veteran golfer and Deniliquin Golf Club life member Graeme ‘Wrecker’ Willoughby continues to give back to the sport, and club, he loves.
Willoughby has been a member of the Golf Club since 1963, when he was just 12 years old, and is still heavily involved today, running clinics for those starting out or just looking to improve their game.
He also volunteers when he can at what is now a mostly volunteer-run club and the place where he achieved so much with ‘club in hand’.
His impressive list of achievements include 10 Deniliquin Golf Club championships, setting an official course record of 68 for amateurs in 1993 and becoming the first Deniliquin golfer to play off a scratch handicap.
Now, with the help of another very handy local golfer, John Radeski, Wrecker mostly enjoys passing his knowledge on to people who have caught the ‘golf bug’ the same as he did all those years ago.
‘‘We started the senior golf clinics last year for six weeks and they were a massive hit,’’ Wrecker said.
‘‘Since they began we’ve had about 40 different golfers give them a go.
‘‘The club’s picked up 20 new members through the clinics — some new to the sport and others who have returned.
‘‘The Summer Sixes competition has kicked goals for the club as well; it attracts plenty of golfers throughout the week, with those involved able to come and play whenever suits, and often that’s after work during the week.’’
And Wrecker himself proved he hasn’t lost his touch, scoring a hole-in-one on the fifth last month. It was the fourth time in his career that he’s managed the feat.
‘‘There wasn’t a lot to it, really,’’ he said.
‘‘It was an absolute fluke. You can be the best golfer and win plenty of championships without ever hitting a hole-in-one.’’
Wrecker has been Australian Sand Green Champion (1992) and has won multiple gold medals at Australian Masters Games.
But amid all his achievements, he is perhaps most highly regarded for his work with junior golfers.
He has devoted many hours to junior coaching and development at local and regional level, including nearly 20 years as Junior Promotion Officer for the Western Riverina District Golf Association.
‘‘I’ve enjoyed my time with the juniors,’’ he said.
‘‘I also have grandsons who have come to my junior clinics, so that was quite rewarding.’’
The senior clinics will start back up in January, with a date to be confirmed early in the New Year.
For more information call the Deniliquin Golf Club Pro Shop on 58813333.