Your RSA golf day needs YOU

By Jared Smith

A great Sunday stroll, the nostalgia of tradition, do some good for your chosen charity you need a better reason to play a round of golf?

The organisers of February 10's RSA/Services/Supporters charity tournament at Castlecliff are crossing their fingers that the public sees it that way as they hunt to get a least 100 entries for their re-formatted event to remain sustainable.

Going back to the 1960s, the annual Returned Services Association tournament was a major deal in Wanganui, as it was for other RSAs around the country.

But anyone with an understanding of history would know the thankful absence of world wars in the last 60 years has seen the unfortunate side-effect of the numbers involved with the organisation dwindle with the sands of time.

In his 80s, Andrew Rae is one trying to keep it going and so has expanded the concepts beyond the servicemen to invite RSA, police, Maori wardens, prison officers, firemen, medical personnel, Rotary members and anyone else who is keen for a game.

As well as the individual men's and women's stableford, the competitors will split into four loosely associated groups RSA, police, medics and supporters. The team with the highest number of stableford points on the day will have the right to nominate a charity which will benefit.

These will be either St John Ambulance, Hospice, Canteen or Starship hospital.

"It's a different format now, altogether," said Rae.

"Back in the day we had cups and shields and tankards for everything known to man.

"It's numbers we want a $15 tournament is pretty liberal."

Castlecliff Golf Club member Grant Clark, one of those who helped organise the tournament in later years, said they were right behind Rae's efforts but it would take effort to keep it alive.

A field under 100 could not be considered a tournament something which was not a problem 30 years ago when the event was so big there were individual trophies for the different service branches, such as Navy and Army.

"The RSA guys are falling off the perch," Clark said. "The whole emphasis is to get the numbers up. A lot of people think these things just happen, they don't. In the old days you could just set up a tent with the beer."

The event will have a multi-tee start for quick rounds for the shotgun start at 10am.

"The only way it's going to work is for people to enter it," Clark said.

The tournament is on February 10, with a $15 entry fee, at the Castlecliff Golf Links. There will be refreshment tents on the course. Entries can be made at the clubhouse, on 06 344 4554, or to Clark on 06 345 5391.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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