My first golfing hero

Gon Gon - my first golfing hero

Gon Gon – my first golfing hero

My Grandfather, Ian Strachan (we call him Gon Gon), was my first golfing hero. He introduced me to the game and bought me my first set of golf clubs. His passion for golf was born in his homeland of Scotland and I’m glad he passed it onto me.

He was there, counting every shot, when I had 156 hits on my first golfing adventure. He was also there when I made my first par and then a birdie! He taught me to respect the rules and said, “Yoo’ve gotta coont every shot”. He made me read the rules from cover to cover – it wasn’t the most exciting thing for a 14 year old, but the experience did come in handy years later when I knew some obscure rule that was overlooked by an official.

Gon Gon drove me to my first Pennant Golf match. Pennant is a serious affair in Victoria and on the morning of the match I was quite nervous. Gon Gon assured me everything was going to be alright – unfortunately he had severely underestimated the travel time to the course and we were running hopelessly late. Gon Gon’s driving (of a car that is) was never that good. He used to say, “I’ve ne’er hud an accident” but we would joke that there was always a trail of destruction behind him.

I wasn’t sure if it was Granddad’s driving or the pressure of the golf match, but I was 3 down early and playing poorly. Nothing was going my way and the team needed me if we were going to win the match. It was then Gon Gon started telling me a story (he was very good at telling stories),

“Ah used tae ken thes joker fa was a member here….”

His story went on and on. I can’t remember the ending or even if there was one, but I think he had another plan. His tale took my mind off the golf and allowed me to play much better. I won six holes in a row to close out the match. It was great to have a first up victory and the drive home was much better than the one there.

In 2010 he accompanied me to the Club Championship presentation night. He had a great time, telling the members about my early golfing (mis)adventures. The night coincided with the State election, and the members, being very conservative, were thrilled with the Liberal Party’s election win. Gon Gon was a life member of the Labor Party and was never scared to speak his mind in relation to politics – at a quiet juncture he referred to the enemy as, “a bunch of ignorant bastards”. Very funny.

He taught me to hit the ball hard and worry about it later. His coaching was simple, uncluttered and to the point. He didn’t mess about and when a guy we were playing with started bamboozling me with stupid advice, Gon Gon whispered (loudly enough so all could hear), “Ignair th’ dunderheid, he wooldnae ken th’ first thing abit golfin”.

Gon Gon passed away last week aged 87. I’m going to miss him but his advice has served me well. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor, coach and golfing hero. I’ll always remember him and his favourite bit of golfing advice,

“Keep yer heed doon Son an’ hit th’ baa hard”

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7 Comments

  • Andrew Hinchliffe

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013

    Great story Cam.
    I am sorry to hear about the passing of your granddad, but his spirit lives on those stories and memories. I could imagine having him present at that presentation night would have been a laugh!

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 25, 2013

      Hinchy: thanks for stopping by. He had a ball that night and didn’t want to leave. Talk soon man.

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013

    I really like that quote ” keep your head down and hit the ball hard”so much better than filling ones head with copious amounts of technique driven stuff.It must have worked because you have got to a handicap of +3.
    Cheers Lukey

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013

    Not a bad innings!. I wish I had someone like that growing up!. You can’t beat life experience, unless you adhere to there life experience.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013

    Great yarn. Strange how we usually have a grand parent or
    Parent who takes the time to pass on some old school learning. You grand dad Strachs and my dad were born in the same year. I’m sure you will agree that generation of Men were men. great role role models all right .Ta Steady

  • Timbo

    Reply Reply January 27, 2013

    Sorry for your loss Strachs!
    Wish you and the family all the best.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 27, 2013

      Thanks Timbo 🙂

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