19 Feb 2024 | Industry news |

Golf's farewell to a legend

by Martin Blake

John Stamp AGC image
John Stamp is leaving golf administration after more than 50 years.

The Australian golf industry farewelled a legend of the sport with the retirement of John Stamp, whose career was celebrated by several hundred people at Royal Melbourne Golf Club last week.

Stamp, 67, is stepping away from the sport owing to health issues, having battled cancer since 2012.

His career in management – both at golf clubs and at Golf Victoria and Golf Australia – dates to 1973 when he was appointed trainee manager at Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club in Melbourne.

Subsequently he served as an assistant general manager at Metropolitan then as general manager at Kew, Northern, Spring Valley (for 20 years) and Woodlands before “crossing to the dark side” and joining Golf Victoria as a club support manager.

In latter years he was club support manager for Golf Australia, notably during the Covid-19 pandemic when the Victorian Government prevented golfers from playing for long periods, causing widespread angst.

He was also president and a life member of the Golf Management Australia, and profoundly respected throughout the industry.

Stamp has a passion for turf management and in his time with Spring Valley, was known to be hands-on. “I liked to hop on the machinery and help the boys out,” he said.

He recalled the hellfire of the pandemic – when he took the brunt of the complaints from golfers about being locked out of their clubs – with a cheeky grin.

One day, he answered 80 emails and took almost as many phonecalls.

“Golf’s a funny game,” he said. “You’re really playing for yourself. Some would say a selfish game played by selfish people.

“That’s a bit tongue in cheek … until you take the phonecalls and emails during Covid.”

The anger was real.

“There’s one memory of a fellow telling me he knew where I lived,” Stamp recalled. “I said: ‘Good luck’. Another fellow told me he was the organizer of one of the protests in Melbourne and he said he’d organize a protest in our office. I said: ‘That’ll be fun’.

“I don’t think I swore once at anyone. I might have hung up on someone!”

Stamp is battling leukemia and with his departure from day-to-day work hopes to spend more time with his family – wife Melanie, their daughter Bianca, and stepdaughters Rebekah and Annaliese.

“All in all it’s been a fantastic career,” he said. “I’ve made great friends. I’ve lost a few along the journey. I might have probably antagonized the odd board member. It’s been a terrific journey and I’m grateful for all the friends that I’ve made.”

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