When I am in the London area I practice at the Windlesham GC . It is fairly close to Heathrow Airport and Wentworth, Sunningdale, Walton Heath and a bunch of other excellent courses.
The members and staff are very accommodating to me and it is like a home away from home for me.
When I arrived yesterday for a practice session at Windlesham GC, I ran into Sir Bob Charles winner of the 1963 Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
When I was a young professional playing on the Australian Tour in 1982-83 I met Sir Bob Charles while practicing at Mount Maunganui GC. It was a brief hello some small talk and back to working on our swings. He was a living legend and in New Zealand everyone adored him.
Now fast forward 30 years and I am returning to New Zealand to play tournaments on the Australian Legends Tour.
It is one of only 4 Senior Tours available to play on in the world.
While in New Zealand I played well won a couple of tournaments in Dunedin and Ashburton and was leading the Order of Merit.
I was invited to play in the largest multi-round pro am event with all the young players of New Zealand and Australia in the Brian Perry Classic. It is a restricted field tournament and so the invitation was an honour to receive especially considering I was a senior aged player. I had at that time become a member of the PGA of New Zealand and to this day I still remain close with some players from New Zealand and receive email updates of their player’s accomplishments through the PGA of New Zealand.
As part of the introductory ceremonies for the Brian Perry Classic, Sir Bob and I had be asked by the PGA of New Zealand to go up in an air balloon for a photo shoot.
I was not the most comfortable in doing this and during a conversation with Sir Bob I was relieved when he said the exact same thing. We both thought the better of it.
So we stepped aside and allowed a couple of younger players to have the honour.
In any case it was great to speak with Sir Bob again catch up on our playing exploits and discuss the top players from New Zealand playing in the Open this week, his travels around the world and the opportunity to be at Royal Birkdale GC this week for the Open Championship as a past champion.