This year the Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship was held over thirty-six holes. Twenty-eight players competed over two days commencing at Brisbane Golf Club on Sunday 19 September and concluding at Royal Queensland Golf Club on Monday 20 September 2021. The two events contested included a champion for (stroke) gross and also for (stroke) net.
Brisbane Golf Club, early Sunday morning, heralded a picturesque setting for the first day. The club was most welcoming, players enjoying abundant sunshine and coffee - all before a magnificently prepared course. Conditions assisted some admirable scoring with local member Alan Grieve leading the Championship with 76 (gross). Ilija Soldan, another local member, followed closely with 78 and Towoomba's Scott Hendry on 81.
For the Net Championship, Bruce Collins, a local member, followed up his recent good form this year to register 68 and ultimately led the event on day one, closely followed by Al Grieve on 69.
The first nearest-the-pin was set on the picturesque 4th hole. Rob King- Scott continued his incredible NTP form to take it out, but could not secure the second pin — set upon another beautiful hole, the 20th. It was Toby Kelly who secured that NTP.
As expected, Royal Queensland Golf Club was immaculate with fast greens. Players were presented with warm, humid and somewhat windy conditions for their Monday afternoon tee. The wind together with firm, fast greens was a true test for all players. Nonetheless, whilst most struggled, some exceptional scores were returned.
Ilija Soldan played some outstanding golf, shooting 75 (gross). This was by far the best for the day and it was also enough to propel him past Sunday's leader Al Grieve. Ilija most convincingly won the Championship, six shots clear. Ilija, from Brisbane Golf Club, is quite new to hickory, this being only his second tournament. We congratulate him on such a notable achievement and such consistent play. David Mansfield, also a new player to hickory, shot an impressive 81 to be outright second on the day. With David's 83 on Sunday, he eventually placed third in the Championship. A few shots back of David lurked Al Grieve (second place overall) together with Denis Brosnan, Bradley Tatnell and Chris Cooper.
In the Net Championship, Kevin Tuckwell must have come close to shooting his age to record the best net of the day at 70. David Jones was a close second with 71. However, consistency proved through with local member Bradley Tatnell (72+72) nudging out Al Grieve (69+76) by one shot overall to ultimately take out the Net Championship. Bruce Collins lay only one shot back from Al to record third place, on countback with David Jones. The Monks-Earp Shield was later presented by Dr Peter Monks (thank you Pete!).
The nearest-the-pins were taken out by Bruce Collins on the 11th and Alan Grieve on the 17th. We might reasonably surmise Al was possibly the only player to stay on the green, the wind howling at some considerable strength straight from the ocean (far right), making any ball defying to stay on the elevated castle of the 17th a true feat of hickory golf. In hindsight, perhaps we should have all aimed at the Gateway Bridge in like fashion. Well done Al!
Day two was indeed a memorable day to say the least and we humbly thank the Royal Queensland Golf Club for allowing us to compete on such a beautiful course.
Special thanks to Alan Grieve, Captain of Brisbane Golf Club, for liaising with the golf club and also for arranging Sunday's event. The membership, management and staff of Royal Queensland Golf Club and Brisbane Golf Club deserve special thanks. Both clubs provided first rate facilities and the hospitality shown is greatly appreciated. To all players, we trust you enjoyed this year's format and the courses played. Special thanks must go to our new Honorary Secretary, Phil Akes, for his painstaking efforts during the Championship — it is appreciated by all. In addition, we especially thank our President Rob King-Scott for his efforts to arrange the event and thanks must go to the entire board, as well as the match committee, especially Ross Bishop.
News post by Phil Akes, Bradley Tatnell and Rob King-Scott