When I was young the Labasa Golf Club was for the European people such as the staff of the Labasa Sugar Mill and was hilly with a few cows and goats roaming across. It was nearly always very dry, really babasiga kind of land. Some of us boys used to caddy after school. One was Bharat who lived close to the Golf Course made his own stick out of a guava tree root. Five years later I saw his name in one of the Fiji papers and he had won competitions and was now a junior pro.
Nowadays every Tomu, Dike and Ari can play golf as long as you can afford to pay the green fee and get hold of some sticks! I play at the Labasa course sometimes when I am up there with my family at Vatuadova.
Of course we all know about Vijay Singh and his successes! He came from the Nadi area. Fiji golf courses are listed here.
Anyway, I took up golf in Australia when I was a minister at Hopetoun. I had a few coaching lessons that set me on the way and I became very keen, going not only to the local golf course but also to Warracknabeal. I played with men from the parish, the Catholic priest Connor Sullivan, and made many new friends such as Carl Muller, who only died a few months ago aged about 98! I enjoyed the fellowship with the players, at the 19th Hole, the clubhouse.
There were often golf jokes such as this one.
A funeral procession was passing by the road near the 4th tee. A man stood in attentive silence and bowed his head towards the procession.
His golfing companion commented, ‘Your attention is commendable. Did you know the deceased?’
‘Yes. She was a faithful worker and a good companion for more than forty-six years. My wife.’
He picked up his stick, and bashed the next shot.
Wendy never took up golf, said it took five hours to zigzag across paddocks, not much fun. She’d rather read a book. These days I play golf about three or four times a week, at the Barwon Valley Golf Club in Geelong, and win a few $10 vouchers or golf balls.
I actually HAVE played golf, at Huntingdale in Melbourne where the championships are played!!!! But only when I was eighteen. That was enough!