Doreen West – Memories of Golf in the District

As told to Rosemary Phillis

Golf is a great game. You can go out on the course and while you play you can forget about everything else. If you have any problems you can forget about them.

Doreen with her golf trophies proudly displayed in her lounge room. Photo: Rosemary Phillis

I started playing golf when my children were little. At the time I played the piano for dances at Blacktown. The men in the group formed a little golf club and they used to go to the Parramatta Golf Range to practice. I went with them and they encouraged me to have a go. I wanted to play left handed as that is how I played cricket and vigoro, but they said I had to play right handed so I did.

My husband Gordon and one of my sons, Ross used to go out to a small nine hole course at Rouse Hill and play socially.

The first club I joined was Fox Hills as my sister Essie played there. I didn’t drive, so I had to take my clubs by train to Blacktown then bus out to the golf course. I have several cards from prizes I won at Fox Hills during the years 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1977.

I then joined Richmond Golf club. Richmond is a good course as it is nice and flat. After some time they convinced me to become Secretary, which I did for five years. I didn’t know what was involved at the start, but the lady who was Secretary before me was very helpful. I travelled to Richmond by train, taking my clubs and buggy. Eventually I got a locker at the club and was able to leave my clubs there.

I only owned one set of golf clubs. They were second hand when I bought them. I didn’t have a full set, just the main ones, a putter, driver and 3, 5 and 7 irons. Towards the end the driver was looking a little worn. The clubs have changed now; they are so much bigger, the drivers are massive.

Along with others from Richmond, we travelled to other courses including Manly, Rydalmere, Leura, Springwood and Camden. Once a year a group of us travelled to Orange for a week. We played golf and had a look around the area.

Doreen West and Jean McPherson on a golfing holiday at Orange.
Photo: Doreen West

Gordon, Ross and I even played in Queenstown when we went to New Zealand. I still remember the time we played at Leura when the weather changed and it started to rain. It was freezing cold and after that I didn’t play in the rain.

We didn’t have a club uniform, you wore what you liked. Sometimes we might have a shirt with a name on it.

The prize cards I have from Richmond date from 1983 through to 2000. Around 1990 my husband Gordon became very ill and I had to give golf away to care for him. After he died I went back to playing at Richmond. I enjoyed the social side of things and it was good exercise.

I made some good friends, Dot Levick, Margaret Fennell and Heath Topping. We still go out to lunch together and Dot calls around for a chat of a Saturday. Others who I recall playing who came from Riverstone included George White and Dawn Wells.

Jean McPherson was another who was at the club. She was a hard worker for Richmond Legacy and she encouraged me to join Legacy.

I didn’t have lessons except for one day when Billy Dunk (a professional who sometimes played at Fox Hills) offered to give the women there a lesson. Apart from that I practiced by playing.

Except for Rouse Hill I always played the full 18 holes. I won a few trophies (Author note: I counted eight proudly displayed on a shelf.) I also won other prizes that were donated by people including a handbag, set of canisters and a blanket amongst other things.

I enjoyed the drive off the tee and seeing how far I could hit the ball. I didn’t so much like when I got closer to the green as it was harder. I had to make sure I didn’t over hit the green.

Although I didn’t drive a car, I could drive a golf buggy and for the last two years I played I shared a cart with my friend Dot. We made the most of the social side of things, while Dot went around the course. I used to take the biscuits and she’d take the coffee.

I do think the best two sports are tennis and golf. They are clean sports and I enjoyed playing them both.