Golf is a game you can't cheat at, says Brian Pope. He was the overall winner of the 2013 Hunter's Golf Tournament after scoring 63, the best net round among 80 or 90 players.
Along with the honour of beating everyone else at junior, intermediate and senior levels, Brian received a $100 petrol voucher, a chance of playing two rounds of golf at the Terrace Downs Golf Club at Mount Hutt and accommodation for two in a villa there.
Brian kept the petrol voucher but sold the Mount Hutt package. He had just returned from the police golf championships in Wanaka and didn't feel like heading away again and another person was keen.
"The camaraderie part of golf is good," Brian says. "You make a lot of friends, have a lot of fun."
He started playing in 1974 when he was a policeman living in Dunedin. A keen sportsman, he was in the New Zealand Police Rugby Team but wanted something to do during the summer months.
His first shot on the greens was at Chisholm Park but he joined the St Clair Golf Club and ranks its course as still one of his favourites.
Fairhall is pretty good too, he adds.
"It's a good challenge with streams, ponds and banks. Golfers like a challenge and Fairhall is a challenge."
It is one of two 18-hole courses in Blenheim and Brian had a round of golf at the other one at Rarangi when he and his late wife Valerie first moved to Marlborough.
He didn't like its stones.
"I took the bottom out of my two best clubs on its stones . . . I settled for Fairhall."
Asked to identify the high points of his golfing experiences, Brian says he has had two holes-in-one, the first in 1975 and the second in 1996.
It hasn't happened again but he usually heads down to the course three times a week to practise his techniques.
"I used to have lessons at St Clair ... [from] Ronnie Timms, a pro."
In those days, Brian was a left-handed golfer but after breaking his arm he had to adapt and now does right-handed swings.
His lowest handicap as a right-handed golfer has been 13, he says. These days he plays on 29.
"I'm not proud of that but I'm 83. That's what happens when you get old."
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