By TONY WHITE
GRAFTON golfers yesterday raised their clubs to honour local stalwarts Warren Moss and John Tibbs as the pair celebrated a milestone 50 years membership of the Grafton District Golf Club.
Moss, 68 and Tibbs, 63, began their golfing careers as teenagers, aged 18 and 14 respectively.
And age certainly has not dimmed their love of the game, nor their prowess.
Moss, who was down to an eight handicap at one point, still plays off 13 and regularly figures in stableford and four-ball competitions.
The avid, happy-go-lucky golfer is also a noted fisherman.
Tibbs, who played off 2 in his late teens, still remains ultra competitive off a handicap of 6.
Both men have also represented the club in pennants competition.
Today's beautiful layout at Grafton is a far cry from the pair's early days.
"It was pretty rough when I first joined," Moss recalled.
"There were stones and rocks on the fairways and in those days there were a hell of a lot of working bees.
"I can remember driving the tractor when they contoured the 13th."
Moss mentioned many of the past great characters like Percy Roberts, Noel Fisher, Keith Holmes, Keith James, Bill Griffiths, Bill Mylchreest, Huey Harris, Carl Schaeffer, Syd Woods and Cec Watt, as integral members in the club's history.
"There's been a lot of changes over the years. The new club house and getting dams and water for the fairways was a big step," Moss said.
"But mainly there's always been a great bunch of fellas and there still is.
"I've been happy with the club and playing golf with my mates since I first started."
Moss was one of the pioneers of the Musk Valley Social Golf Club, the oldest social golf club in the area and the men who started the regular Friday afternoon competitions that still run to this day.
One year Moss had a try as a left-hander, playing against right-handers in an annual competition.
"They (the left-handers) were short. It was on the old par 72 course. I had 72 hits...then we went out and played the back nine," he joked.
Moss named Neil Farrington, who played with Tibbs as a junior, as the best local golfer he had seen during his time.
He also suggested perennial bridesmaids Noel Fisher and Percy Roberts as players who were very good golfers.
"Neil often would level up a lot of the low markers who came to Grafton thinking we would be easy prey," he said.
Moss and Tibbs both saw Australian icon Greg Norman win the 1973 Jacaranda Open at Grafton.
Tibbs was also a member of the 'emu' squad in the early days.
"There was a lot of volunteer work back then," he said.
"They even hand-mowed the fairways sometimes."
Tibbs, who won the veterans championship last year and was a former champion junior golfer, had thoughts of taking up golf professionally as a teenager.
"I decided on a trade but golf is still a great game," he said.
"These days it's hard for the clubs to make ends meet. People don't hang around for presentations like they used to and that makes it hard for sponsors. Running a club these days means more than just getting players on the course." Tibbs named multiple club champion Graham Dewberry and Farrington as the best and most consistent local players he had seen.