Home' Australian Golf Digest : October 2017 Contents 98 australiangolfdigest.com.au | october 2017
ITH apologies to Tony Abbott,
no strong drink had been taken
when the resident wag in our
weekend fourball suggested
Malcolm Turnbull would do a
great job running golf.
We’re a disparate group with only one
thing in common apart from horrible
backswings and beer bellies honed over
decades: a blissful ignorance of federal
politics. But our comic batted on, usually
when one or another of us was standing over
a four-footer for par. We wish.
“ When you look at it, there’s not much
difference between what the PM’s been
doing in Canberra and what he’d be doing in
golf.” Do tell.
“ The same-sex marriage vote is really just
mixed-format golf (don’t even go there);
a club GM trying to get his board to agree
with his agenda is like the PM dealing with
a hostile Senate; and the PGA and Golf
Australia are similar to the Coalition and
Labor – philosophically opposed but with
the same end in sight.”
Our man clearly sees life through a
simple(ton’s) golf lens. He will not be
an applicant to replace the venerable
commentator, Laurie Oakes, in the Canberra
But what if Malcolm Turnbull did rule
golf? With tongue firmly planted in cheek,
we offer him some random advice...
TAKE THE NATIONAL OPEN TO CANBERRA
Politicians are full of promises when they
come into office and usually read the mood
of the electorate well. Surely one of the major
planks in Malcolm’s electoral golf spiel
would be moving the biggest tournament
in the country – the Australian Open – to
You don’t have to watch the acclaimed
ABC series “Utopia” to know playing the
national championship in the nation’s
capital is a natural fit, no focus groups or
white papers required. The infrastructure
is already there, too, with many wonderful
golf courses in and around Canberra and all
suitable and eager hosts.
But hang on, isn’t Malcolm from Sydney?
Isn’t that his beautiful home overlooking the
harbour? Didn’t his detractors dub him the
“PM of Sydney” when he was in politics? And,
whoops, hasn’t golf handcuffed the Open to
the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a ridiculously
Better stay out of that one, Malcolm.
Sounds a bit too political.
Malcolm has spent a lot of time ‘sweating
the little stuff’ in Canberra, like whether
his deputy is actually an Australian citizen
and eligible to be in parliament at all. That
was a bit of a setback, given that he had
hammered Bill ‘Zinger’ Shorten about the
dodgy citizens in his camp just a few days
earlier. And just when both parties thought
they had sent the Greens to Coventry on the
It is typical of politics in Canberra; more
often than not it is bogged down in petty
disputes and point-scoring across the two
houses. Malcolm would be hoping for a
bipartisan approach to golf but will soon
wish he were back jousting with the Senate.
The elephant in the locker room is, and
always has been, the uneasy relationship
between the game’s amateur ruling body, Golf
Australia, and the PGA, which governs those
who play the game for a living. Adding to the
uneasiness of the relationship, GA not only
rules the game but owns the minds of the club
members pros rely upon for their trade.
In loose terms, GA is more about
protecting the rights of the rank-and-file
club player and promoting the game, the
‘Labor side’ of golf to use a political analogy.
The PGA is more interested in the business
of golf, making a dollar out of it for their
members, and is aligned with the Liberal
way of thinking.
It’s all about keeping the balance of power.
ONE ‘HAPPY FAMILY’
We reckon Malcolm should get everybody
under one roof and call the happy gathering
the Australian Golf Commission.
His Labor ‘mate’ in Victoria, Daniel
Andrews, has mooted it and even released
artists’ impressions of the building that
would house the new golf entity. But so far
no cigar. “ Utopia” again comes to mind.
You see, certain people in the game
A club GM trying to get his board to agree with his
agenda is like the PM dealing with a hostile Senate
IF MALCOLM TURNBULL
VOTE 1 Australia’s Prime Minister for golf commissioner. By Michael Davis
7/09/2017 11:47 am
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