The Senior Golfers’ Society was first mooted at the Apawamis Golf Club at Rye, Long Island Sound NY, USA when a group of older golfers suggested it might be a good idea to arrange a golf competition between members of 50 years and over from metropolitan clubs in the area. Mr. Hotchkiss was the driving force behind the movement and the meeting decided to go ahead with the suggestion including an age increase to 55 years and over. The Apawamis Golf Club became the home of the Seniors for a number of years, and yearly competitions were held with the metropolitan clubs.
In 1917, the idea of forming an Association was discussed; a Board of Governors was formed on the 20th May, 1920, and the United States Senior Golfers’ Association was incorporated.
The Canadian Senior Golfers’ Association was formed in May, 1919, primarily based on the American rules and the American and Canadian Associations met annually for competitions, to which a trophy had been donated by the Duke of Devonshire, who was Governor-General of Canada at that time.
The idea of forming a British Society was first brought to England in 1926 by Frederick Snare, Captain of the American Seniors and Clarence Bogert, President of the Canadian Seniors.
The British, after giving some publicity to the matter and holding various meetings, decided on the 29th November, 1926 to form the Senior Golfers’ Society of Great Britain.
One of the first acts of the new Society was to invite the US and Canadian Seniors to send teams over for a triangular international contest to take place at Sunningdale in February, 1927. This was accepted with enthusiasm and duly took place.
From 1927 to 1939, a match was played between these Societies on each side of the Atlantic on alternate years. The war finally put a stop to this and it was a long time before overseas play recommenced.
The Senior Golfers’ movement continued to grow and to-date Societies and Associations have been founded in the following countries:
There is no formal tie between individual countries.
An international competition is played annually at Deauville in Normandy, France and is organised by the Association Sportive des Seniors Golfeurs de France (ASSGF).
The British and American Seniors have adopted mottos. The British motto that has also been adopted by Australia is:
“Possunt Quia Posse Videntu” which may be translated as “They can because they think they can”.
The American’s motto is:
“Once a Senior, always a Senior, sometimes venerable but never aged”.
During 1936, the British Seniors approached Norman Brookes with a view to the formation of a Seniors organisation in Australia.
There were difficulties due to distance and it was suggested that each State should have its own Society with a parent Society as the coordinating body.
The idea was accepted with enthusiasm and independent Societies were established initially in Victoria and New South Wales.
The first British Seniors side to visit Australia arrived in 1964 when eight players under the Captaincy of Alec Gold spent four weeks in Victoria and New South Wales—with games being played with the Seniors of these two States.
After much discussion with Alec Gold, the Australians decided to form an Australian Society which would be the parent body of the State Societies. This body was incorporated in 1964.
The Committee of the Senior Golfers’ Society of Australia consists of two representatives from each of the seven State Societies.
The Presidency of the Senior Golfers’ Society of Australia is held in turn by the President of the State convening the McIntyre Event but the Secretariat (for convenience) remains in Victoria.
The Senior Golfers’ Society of Australia’s first Committee Meeting took place in Melbourne on the 4th December, 1964 and the various State Societies joined as follows: Victoria and New South Wales in 1964, South Australia in 1965, Queensland in 1968, Western Australia in 1975, Tasmania in 1994 and the Australian Capital Territory in 2002.
During a visit to the Royal Sydney Golf Club by Mr. Alec White and Mr. M.G. (Tim) Boydell in 1967, it was suggested to them by New South Wales Senior Golfers that perhaps it would be a good idea to form a Society in Queensland.
On their return to Brisbane, Mr. Alec White called a meeting at his home in Windermere Road, Hamilton on the 8th November, 1967 for the purpose of discussing this matter. Those present were:
At this meeting, it was decided to form the Queensland Society and rules, objectives, membership and finance were then discussed. It was also agreed to seek affiliation with the Australian Society.
Sir Kenneth Fraser (RQGC)
The Hon. Mr. Justice Lucas (RQGC)
M.G. Boydell (RQGC)
A.W.D. White (RQGC)
G.R. Hinder (RQGC)
H.M. King (RQGC)
S.G. King (RQGC)
C.O. Mant (RQGC)
Following formation of the Queensland Society, Messrs. White and Boydell represented the Queensland Society at the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Society held at the Royal Sydney Golf Club on the 15th March 1968 to advise them of our action.
The first match of the Queensland Society was held at Royal Queensland Golf Club on the 10th May, 1968; it was attended by approximately 40 members with the President officially launching the Society by hitting off promptly at noon.
A trophy (silver jug) was presented by the President to the winner Frank Finlayson (SGC member) after an exciting play-off with Steve King and Tom Penny.
During a visit by a team of South African Seniors in 1997, a statuette of a ‘Cheetah in Flight’ and a bronze rhinoceros head were presented to the Queensland Society. These gifts are now perpetual trophies for a single Stableford Competition between Society members held on the final competition day of each year. In 2003, Vic Darling (a past President and Honorary Life Member) donated a number of brass Senior Golfers’ Society of Great Britain jacket buttons that were suitably mounted to provide a trophy that is played for annually for the best single stableford score of the day of the event.