Inverell Golf Club’s John Coote recently racked up his 18th club championship title, but what’s extraordinary is he has won the title in six successive decades.
The 68-year-old won his first championship at the northern New South Wales club in 1977, aged 25, and continued his good form winning the championship in the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s and 2021.
This year he fired rounds of 76-76-77-74 for a 303 total to defeat Phillip Fox by four shots.
“We didn’t have real good weather so the scores weren’t the best,” John said.
When he won his first club championship he played off a handicap of three.
Today his handicap is two so like a fine wine he has improved with age.
“I don’t mind a fine drop of red wine,” he laughed at the suggestion.
Aside from his home course success, John has won a plenty of open club titles around the district including at Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Armidale, Warialda, Moree, et al.
Surprisingly, John doesn’t practice and plays his weekly round of golf on a Saturday.
Sometimes I will play twice a week, but that’s rare,” he said.
Had John not given the game away in his late teens and early twenties he might have won many more club championships.
“As a junior I was offered a traineeship at Dunheved Golf Club, but I turned it down and went into the electrical trade,” he explained.
“I was 16 and gave golf away for a while as you do when you are a young fellow to pursue other interests.
“I had a break away from golf for about five years and then got back into it.”
John worked as a radio/television mechanic before starting his own security firm.
“I had that business for 30 years and sold it a couple of years ago and opened a golf shop at the golf club,” he said.
“The club doesn’t have a club professional so I run the shop to help the golf club.
“I collect the green fees and hire out the golf carts.
“It’s a voluntary role and it’s about giving something back to the game … and the club.”
The role keeps him relatively busy, but he does look forward his weekly game of golf.
“It’s great to get out on the golf course with your mates and have a game of skins and few beers after the round,” he enthused.
“For me, that’s what golf is all about – the friendships and the camaraderie around the golf club.”
John said the golf course had “come back nicely” after the severe drought a few years ago.
“The golf course is looking good again after the really bad drought,” he said.
“During the drought we lost 48 big pine trees and had to buy water to keep the greens (bent grass) alive because our dams and bores had dried up.
“But now the dams are full and the golf course and the greens are in good condition.”