ANENDRA SINGH
New Zealand's finest amateur golfer and one of the greatest sportsmen the country has ever produced, Stuart Jones, of Hastings, will celebrate his 80th birthday in style, at the club, next Friday.
One hundred guests, including top golfers from New Zealand and abroad, will pay tribute to the seven-time New Zealand amateur champion at the Hastings Golf Club in Bridge Pa at 6.30pm.
Jones and the guests will first tee-off at 11.30am to play 18 holes at the club where he is a life member. At the dinner ceremony some of the guests will speak about their past experiences with Jones and pay tribute to the legendary sports writer, the late TP McLean, dubbed "The Emperor" of New Zealand golf.
The club is baking a special cake and Napier freelance photographer Clive Ralph is working on a large photograph of Jones playing his favourite swing, that will be presented on the night.
"It's his favourite swing ever and the picture will be reproduced in colour on canvas and framed. It will then hold pride of place in the clubrooms," says Hastings club manager Ken Dungey.
"It's important that the whole emphasis is on his 80th birthday party," added Dungey.
New Zealand Golf vice-president Mike Alexander, of Taupo, will represent the national body.
Other special guests include former Hawke's Bay golfer Ian MacDonald, now living in Sydney, Ross Murray, of Rangiora, Ted MacDougal, of Mangawai and Peter Creighton, formerly of Hawke's Bay but now living in Auckland.
Unable to attend are former British Open champion Sir Bob Charles who is playing in a father/son European tour and John Durry, of Wellington, who defeated Jones in the 37th hole sudden-death play-off for the New Zealand amateur crown at Bridge Pa in 1967, in what was dubbed at the time as the "Match of the Century".