Legends inducted to SA Golf Hall of Fame

The achievements of the South Australian golf industry have been celebrated by around 250 golfing representatives from around the state at the inaugural South Australian Golf Industry Awards Night held at the Adelaide Oval recently.

Amongst the highlights of the Awards evening was the induction of five local legends of the game to the newly created South Australian Golf Hall of Fame.

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Voted by representatives of the four organising bodies, Golf SA, PGA of Australia, Golf Management Australia and the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association, the five inductees to the SA Golf Hall of Fame were Rhona Watson OAM, Murray Crafter, John Crosby OAM, Jane Crafter and Bob Tuohy.

Rhonda Watson was a noted player and administrator both at club and state level.

Dominating women’s golf from 1952 to 1968, Watson won 12 state amateur titles, in the process becoming the first female player in South Australia to obtain a scratch handicap.

Her administrative career included a three-year term as President of the South Australian Ladies Golf Union of which she was awarded life membership. She received an OAM in 1978 for her services to golf.

A member of the iconic Crafter golfing family, Murray Crafter was a noted professional, coach and course architect for over 40 years.

Recording 123 professional victories between 1953 and 1970, Crafter’s local victories included six SA Open and 11 SA PGA titles.

He held the position of resident professional at Glenelg Golf Club for over 30 years and tutored many of the state’s elite players, including a young Rhonda Watson who joined the Adelaide sandbelt club as a junior in the late 1940s.

John Crosby is a noted golfing administrator, having served as President of Marino Golf Club (now The Vines of Reynella Golf Club) from 1974 to 1980, before being elected President of the South Australian Golf Union from 1982 to 1986.

A long-time supporter of elite amateur golf, in the mid 1980s Crosby was responsible for the creation of the national elite amateur tournament circuit, which started with SAGA Invitational (now the SA Amateur Classic) in 1985 and was quickly followed by similar national ranking and selection event throughout the country.

Jane Crafter is considered amongst the state’s greatest ever players. Following an outstanding amateur career where she represented SA and Australia, she joined the professional ranks in 1980 recording victories on the LPGA Tour in the US and locally at marquee events such as the ANZ Ladies Masters and Ladies Australian Open.

The final inductee of the Awards ceremony was noted former professional and tournament promoter Bob Touhy.

Tuohy’s professional career spanned over 15 years, including many state Open and PGA titles together with international victories in New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

Upon his retirement in 1974, Tuohy started his career as a tournament promoter with the advent of the West Lakes Classic in 1974, and has gone on to manage many of Australasia’s most successful tournaments including the ANZ Ladies Masters and the New Zealand Open.

In total over 20 trophies were presented as part of the inaugural SA Industry Awards Night, which covered industry specific awards from the GMA, PGA and AGCSA, as well as awards for volunteer contributions to the game from both Metropolitan and country areas.

The full list of award recipients is:

  • PGA Trainee of the Year – Nathan Kent
  • Golf SA Junior Boy’s Vardon – Anthony Murdaca (The Grange)
  • Golf SA Women’s Vardon – Caitlin Roberts (Royal Adelaide)
  • Golf SA Men’s Vardon – Tom Bond / Brad Moules (The Grange / Royal Adelaide)
  • AGCSA Graduate Award – Tyson Dickinson (The Grange)
  • AGCSA Award for Excellence in Golf Course Management – Stuart Gillespie (West Lakes)
  • AGCSA Distinguished Service Award – Ivan Swinstead (Tea Tree Gully)
  • GMA Club Employee of the Year – Elle Eckermann (The Grange)
  • GMA Distinguished Service Award – Andrew Gay (Royal Adelaide)
  • Country Female Volunteer of the Year – Mary Winser (Millicent)
  • Country Male Volunteer of the Year – Robert Benger (Saddleworth)
  • Metropolitan Female Volunteer of the Year – Ros Brown (Kooyonga)
  • Metropolitan Male Volunteer of the Year – Merv Clarke (Westward Ho)
  • PGA Pro Am of the Year (Legends) – Whyalla Senior Professional Golf Classic
  • PGA Pro Am of the Year (Open) – SA Italian Golf Club Pro Am
  • PGA Professional of the Year – Peter Ormsby