By Michael Davis

ONE of Royal Melbourne Golf Club’s best-known and much-loved members, Dr John Green, has died.

Dr Green was elected to membership of the club in 1951 and life membership in 2012.  As the son of a member, he enjoyed access to the club before that. 

He played the Royal Melbourne courses for all but the first 15 years since they opened and it was this longevity that gave him a unique insight into the history of the courses.

RM general manager Damon Lonnie said: “John’s knowledge was without parallel and the club is extremely fortunate that in 2011 he published The Royal Melbourne Golf Club – History of the Courses. 

“This book contains both his thoughts and observations from playing the courses over more than 65 years. It is an extremely valuable record which will be of significant benefit to the club for generations to come.”

In 2017, with co-author and renowned golf course architect and historian Neil Crafter, Dr Green wrote Discovering Alex Russell – The Man and his Legacy. 

Royal Melbourne stalwart Dr John Green left a lasting legacy.

He was also involved in the establishment of the Alex Russell Society. The Society has done much to educate the wider golfing community of the work of Alex Russell, the designer of the East Course, and Dr Alister MacKenzie’s partner in Australia.

In 2021 John wrote his last book, Golf Without Thinking is Not Golf – The Philosophy Behind Alex Russell’s Golf Course Designs. 

In the book’s foreword he wrote: “The first of my three club championships, aged 40, was against the defending champion who had represented the state a few years earlier. 

“Bruce Green (his nephew and long-time RM teaching professional) credits me with being a top ‘course craft’ player, and I think this was valuable in many matches I played. Even on other courses, I always worked out where it was safe to finish when I was out of position for a safe shot to the green.” Sage advice that members may wish to reflect upon!

John won three club championships, the last at the age of 48 in 1979. He also won four foursomes championships, four seniors’ championships and two mixed foursomes championships. 

He represented the club in pennant for a number of years and played his last match in 1984. After his pennant playing days were over he managed the Minor (now Colts) pennant team in the early 1990s.

Other contributions to the club included membership of the History and Archives Committee for many years, the Greens Committee and the Hawtree working group. He was also a significant contributor to the club’s newsletters for many years.

“John leaves a lasting legacy,” Damon Lonnie said.

“Our condolences are extended to his wife Helen and his three children one of whom, Richard, continues the family connection of membership of the club.”

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