IT’S become something of a tradition in the Northern Rivers of NSW.

And the ‘social’ side of it just keeps golfers coming back year after year … for 50, in fact.

Like so many great organisations, the idea sprang over a few beers with a few keen golfers in 1969.

Now, five RSL social golf clubs in the Northern Rivers look forward to the ‘combined shield day’ when they all come out to compete.

Ballina RSL Social Golf Club, along with Woodburn-Evans Head, Lismore, Murwillumbah and Twin Towns Ex-Services provide some pretty handy golfers for this annual clash as well.

And last month was even more special, it was the 50th running of the event and more than 150 players turned out to represent their respective clubs.

President Adrian Leiper (left) and captain Al Walsh with the hotly-contested Combined Shield.

The shield was first played in 1970 and the only time it wasn’t contested was 2021 and 2022. You guessed it, because of Covid-19.

This year’s event was played at Lismore Golf Club, which was a feat in itself considering the floods that have plagued the district.

Yet still the course was turned out in perfect condition for the big day.

This year the event was won by Ballina RSL, who retained the shield they won in 2019 with the help of their captain Al Walsh, who returned an incredible 51 individual stableford points off his 21 handicap (which no doubt will be trimmed after that effort).

It gave Ballina a great start as the 10 best GA handicap scores from each club determined the winner.

It’s also worth mentioning Ballina RSL Social Golf Club’s life member Graham Brown.

‘Browny’, as they all refer to him, is the only player from all five social golf clubs to have played in all 50 events. 

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