It would not be May without Sally
By TONY WHITE firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR more than 30 years Sally Beresford has been involved on both sides of the 'fairway' with the Grafton May tournament, which commences at Grafton District Golf Club today.
As a player and long term tournament committee member, Beresford has been an integral part of the prestigious four-day event that celebrates its 43rd anniversary this year.
"It's a very special tournament in the ladies program," Beresford said.
"It's probably the most important golf event we have in Grafton, a chance to play golf on a wonderful course, catch up with friends and enjoy the camaraderie."
Beresford has played in around 35 May tournaments and while yet to win the gross overall winner ? in 1971 she proudly won the nett event with a score of 135.
"I've been runner-up a few times (in the gross). It's a bit heartbreaking at times to go so close but I can't complain."
Beresford has endured a great rivalry and friendship with local legend 'Amazing' Jean Dahl, a 13-time winner of the event and 24-time club champion.
Dahl, back down to single figures, again looms as the best local chance to add another title to her bulging portfolio.
In 1989, 1990 and 1991, Beresford was crowned ladies' club champion finally finishing ahead of the incomporable Dahl.
"I was getting sick of finishing runner-up to Jean. Luckily my time came and I was able to win the club championships three times," Beresford said.
Her other list of credits is impressive ladies foursomes champion five times, mixed foursomes champion four times with various partners, won the Naggers Cup three times, the Ann and along with Dahl, a regular member of the Grafton womens A grade pennants team.
Beresford and men's star Matt Worthing won the May tournament mixed foursomes last year and will team up again this year.
As a committee person, Beresford has served as vice president, vice captain and assistant secretary over a 30-year period.
"The committee put in a lot of work to ensure the tournament is a success," Beresford said. "Unfortunately the numbers are down this year but that's a sign of the times. Veteran's golf is impacting on us and other tournaments now clash with the May event but the standard will still be high and the course is in great condition."
In past years Beresford can remember many fine moments and one incredible tournament when rain hit the course, forcing golfers to tee up to avoid flooding water.
"Some of the balls were literally floating away down the drain. We had water over our ankles. It was quiet hilarious," she recalled.
Playing golf for 41 years, Beresford, now widowed, has a special affinity with the game.
"I just love being out there, in the fresh air with the kangaroos and other animals. I'm a bit of a wild life fanatic," she said.
"The camaraderie is great, I've met a lot of lovely people through golf. Luckily at my age I haven't got all the aches and pains some people get and I'm able to still play regularly. It's invigorating, frustrating at times but a really enjoyable game."
More than 120 players from Sydney to the Queensland border will contest this year's May tournament which commences with a 4BBB event playing for the Commonwealth Cup.
Over 36-holes on Thursday and Friday the gross and nett winner will be decided and the tournament rounds out with a mixed American event on Saturday.
Yamba's Barbara Moore will return to defend her title and other low handicappers expected to figure prominently include Gloria Hickey (Coffs Harbour) and Robin Reynolds from Ballina.