Golf Australia

Vale Colin Phillips

Colin Phillips
Colin Phillips recently at his beloved second home, The Metropolitan Golf Club. Picture: The Metropolitan GC

Colin Phillips, one of Australian golf’s best and longest-serving administrators, has died aged 76.

Phillips, who received an OAM in 1996 for his services to the sport, fought a brief battle with cancer before passing in a Melbourne hospital on Sunday evening.

Among many roles he fulfilled in international golf, Phillips will be most remembered as the boss of the Australian Golf Union which, along with Women’s Golf Australia, was the forerunner to what is now Golf Australia. He served that role with distinction from 1979 until 2005, all the while building Australia’s international reputation with his work for the R&A and fledgling Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.

Golf Australia chairman John Hopkins was saddened to learn of Phillips’ passing.

“He dedicated his life to making golf better and gave enormous service over a very, very long period of time,” Hopkins said.

“Colin was an extremely important and central figure in Australian golf history, not just with the AGU, but also with the R&A and APGC in recent years. He will be missed and his contribution is certainly a very significant one over a very long period.”

Golf Australia chief executive Pitt said it highlighted Phillips’ commitment to the sport that he called to offer support when he took the job in 2008.

“Colin was one of the first people to ring me and offer his help in any way that he could and I really did appreciate that offer of support and friendship and I knew it was genuine,” Pitt said.

“He was regarded by all as someone who understood the traditions and values of the game and worked hard to uphold them.

“He was a very loyal person, had enormous integrity, honesty and very strong values.”

A keen golfer throughout his life, Phillips was appointed assistant manager at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne in 1962.

He later moved to Britain where he spent more than four years at the West Kent Golf Club as secretary-manager and also helped the Kent Golf Union.

He returned to Australia in 1975 when offered the role as secretary of the Victorian Golf Association before landing the position with the national body.

Phillips was the driving force behind and oversaw many initiatives in his time at the AGU and in other roles within the golf industry. These include the formalisation of national development programs, particularly for juniors and promising amateurs, the establishment of GolfLink and the forerunner to the current Australian handicapping system.

He helped initiate an environmental strategy for Australian golf courses and sat on committees that established the sport’s world ranking system, the Alfred Dunhill Cup and the Confederation of Australian Sport.

Phillips was a member of The Metropolitan Golf Club since 1975, served on its committees and acted as greens convener for many years. He was a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, honorary member of Kingston Heath and West Kent Golf Clubs, Sorrento, Moonah Links and Frankston golf clubs.

He was also the honorary secretary of the APGC, director of Asia-Pacific for the R&A, chairman of the Australian Open championship from 1975-2005 and the first Australian to serve on Rules committees for The Open, US Open and Masters.

Phillips is survived by his wife, Coralie.


Posted by Bob Tuohy at
09/07/2019 04:41 PM
Colin was a true friend and I remain privileged to have had the opportunity to work closely with him and his Administration Team at the then AGU in rebuilding the Australian Open Championship from 1984 and reintroducing the Australian Women’s Open in 1994 after a long absence. My sympathy to Coralie and family at this sad time. R.I.P. Colin as you will be remembered as a key player in the overall development of golf in Australia.
Posted by Maggie Leslie at
07/07/2019 01:28 PM
We are very sad to hear of Colin's passing. Sincere condolences to Coralie. Maggie and Bill Leslie
Posted by Carolyn Roberts at
04/07/2019 12:19 PM
So sad to hear the passing of Colin - so many wonderful memories of working together on the Australian Open over many years. Such a warm, generous and fun man to be around - thank you Colin for the great times - we certainly work in the best years of golf in Australia. Much love to your beautiful wife Coralie. xx
Posted by Alan & Jennifer Bennett at
03/07/2019 09:29 PM
Our dear friend and neighbour will be missed terribly. Discussing golf or current affairs over a glass of wine or two with Colin will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathy to Coralie.
Posted by Neil Woodbury at
03/07/2019 02:06 PM
Colin was a close friend during my long period with NZ Golf. He attended my last meeting of the NZGA and I am deeply saddened by his passing.
Posted by Barry Hoskin at
01/07/2019 05:40 PM
Very sad to hear this news and my condolences to Coralie. I will always appreciate the generosity Colin showed to myself when i met him at my cousins place, after chatting for a while about golf he promised to send me some tickets to the Australian Open, a week later they were in the letter box. Rest in peace Colin Phillips.

Post a new comment

17 September 2019
While critics bemoan wide courses as "too easy", MIKE CLAYTON argues that it opens up so many more pleasing aspects of golf, whether aesthetic and ... Read more
29 May 2019
15 May 2019
30 April 2019
19 April 2019
Inside The Ropes
Golf Australia