Golf Australia

Vale Rhonda Watson OAM

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Rhonda Watson

It is with much sadness the we advise of the passing of Rhonda Watson OAM, the first ever inductee into the South Australian Golf Industry Hall of Fame.

The Board of Golf SA wishes to pass on condolences to Sue & Bob Tuohy and family on the passing of Sue's mother a true a legend of South Australian golf.

The family will be having a private service.

Rhonda was inducted into the South Australian Golf Industry Hall of Fame on Sat 29 October 2011.

Please refer to the below highlighting Rhonda's many achievements.

*Hall of Fame Induction - Sat 29 Oct 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen it gives me great pleasure to announce the first inductee into the South Australian Golf Industry Hall of Fame is: Rhonda Watson

When Rhonda was a young teenager she wanted to achieve her personal best at “something”.

Besides attending commercial art classes mixed with 9 to 5.30 work - Rhonda played a variety of sports including netball, table tennis and tennis. It was golf however that really caught her attention with  the  young  Rhonda  being  introduced  to  the  game  at  the  then  National  Park  Golf  Course, which she frequently visited with her family and friends.

After spending time as a member of the Kensington Park Golf Club, Rhonda joined Glenelg Golf Club in 1948 as a Junior – an introduction that was kindly arranged by Mrs Marjory Taylor.

At  Glenelg  Rhonda  was  to  be  taught  by  two  of  the  club’s  legendary  professionals  -  
firstly  Fred Thompson and then Murray Crafter, who was to coach her for the next 18 years.

Rhonda  once  said,  “the  most  pleasant  time  to  play  golf  is  just  as  the  sun  rises  and complete  a round in two hours”.

In 1951 Rhonda commenced her first year of 26 years playing for Glenelg in Pennant Competitions.

In 1968 she won a Gold Laurel Wreath Brooch for playing par golf at Glenelg and in 1969 won the Champion of Champions Trophy. Watson won the Glenelg Club Championship 13 times.

Not only did Watson dominate club level golf but was the states leading player throughout the 50’s and 60’s.

Over a 17 year period from 1952 to 1968 Watson won 12 State Amateur titles - an Australian record -  in   the   process   equaling   Lady   Britten-Jones’   record   of   10   state   titles, drawing   personal congratulations  from  Britten-Jones  herself  which  was  to  remain  one of her  proudest  golfing achievements.

During this period - Rhonda was the first lady to obtain a scratch handicap in South Australia
which she achieved in 1959.

Watson represented SA for many years and in 1956 represented Australian for the first time in the Tasman Cup in New Zealand - saying that the month long tour of New Zealand, was a maturing
experience, adding to both her knowledge of people and the game of golf.

She  went  on  to  represent  Australia  in  1962  and  66’  and  in  1970  was  appointed  
non-playing Captain.

Having  finished  her  representative  career,  Rhonda  put  a  particular  emphasis  on  playing  
State Women’s Open Meetings – not only expanding her own golfing knowledge but also introducing her to  the  many facets  of  golf  administration  which she  was to eventually pursue at both state  and national level.

In  1964  Rhonda  was  approached  to  stand  for  Vice  President  of  the  South  Australian  
Ladies  Golf Union  and  was  appointed  President  for  the  maximum  3  year  term  from 1969 to 1971. During  this period she was also a Glenelg Associates Committee Member, followed by Vice-Captain, Captain and President of the club.

In  1974  the  Executive  of  the  SA  Ladies  Golf  Union  asked  her  to  be  Honorary  Treasurer of  the association - a role she held for 4 years.

Rhonda has been awarded:

- Life Membership of the Glenelg Golf Club, the first lady to be honoured in this way
- Life Membership of the South Australian Ladies Golf Union
- And The Medal of the Order of Australia in 1978 for services to golf

Ladies and Gentlemen, unfortunately Rhonda cannot be here tonight but accepting the award on her behalf, her daughter Sue Tuohy.

 


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