Hames' 36th title at club
Helen Hames showed she still is a class act with a club in her hand when she grabbed her 36th championship title at the Waimate Golf Club.
Since winning her first title in 1975, Hames has been "the Queen of the Course". She has been beaten only once, in 1986, and missed out in 1988 when she was away. Otherwise she has proved untouchable at Waimate for what must be some sort of record, but New Zealand Golf does not keep those sorts of statistics.
These days Hames plays for the love of the game, but still has a competitive streak on the big days.
"I like to get out and just enjoy it."
Last year she was also South Canterbury's "Champion of Champions" for the sixth time and will defend her title at Temuka on Thursday.
Hames says she still really enjoys the game, but does not practise anywhere as much as when she was serious about the game.
Over the years at Waimate she has, however, had plenty of scraps on club championship day, especially when the club peaked with about 100 women involved.
Hames battled Bridget Hayman on eight or nine occasions but managed to come out on top.
Her one loss was to Annie Seed on the 36th hole in 1987, but managed to regain her title in almost an exact replay, except she beat Seed on the 36th the following year.
Hames said her best day in golf came when she shot "a 67 off the stick at Waimate".
She fired five birdies and 13 pars.
"It really got quite exciting towards the end and it is the only time I have played without a bogey in the round."
Hames' biggest winning margin in the club championships was 15 and 14, but she admits most were a lot closer.
"There were certainly days I had to fight, especially against Bridget."
The veteran golfer picked up the clubs after retiring from hockey to have a family. "I think it helped being a hockey player and being strong in the wrists."
These days Hames plays off a 7.8 handicap but remains one of the toughest golfers to get past.
Hames also played interprovincial golf from 1975 to 1993 for South Canterbury and finally retired from masters golf four years ago to take things a bit easier.
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