17 Sep 2020 | Amateur golf |
Player Profile: Michael Richards
Interview by Ken Brown
1. Why did you start playing golf and how old were you when you played your first game? From around eight I caddied for my Dad at North Adelaide and the putted on the practice green while he went to the bar. I played my first game on the North Course when I was about 10 and had a 108. 2. Where did things lead from there? I joined North Adelaide in 1962 when I was 11. I then started to work for Bruce Auld in the Par 3 Pro Shop every Saturday and Sunday, regularly riding my bike with my clubs on my back there and back. Any money earned went to but clubs. 3. Who taught/coached you to play? No one, I did read a lot of books. 4. Which clubs have you been a member of? - North Adelaide – 1962 to 1973 - Kooyonga – 1973 to 1993 - Tea Tree Gully – 1993 to present 5. I hear you had some illustrious playing partners at Kooyonga each Saturday. Yes, I played with John Muller and Chris Bonython each Saturday at 11:00am and saw some wonderful golf played for many years. 6. I believe you are the games record holder for the Simpson Cup. Yes, I played 213 Simpson Cup games over five decades from the 1960’s before retiring in 2002. I don’t have exact records, but believe the winning percentage is around the 60% mark. 7. I understand you have one caddy during your 20 years playing at Kooyonga. Yes, a gentleman by the name of John Littlewood, from North Adelaide, caddied for me all 20 years at Kooyonga. He put up with a lot! 8. Have you represented South Australia? Yes, at both junior and senior levels. I played in the SA Junior Team for five years from 1968 to 1972. The teams won the series in 1971 at Mount Yokine in Perth (Wayne Humphries played in the team) and then in 1972 we lost to NSW by two individual games at Royal Melbourne. I played then in the Senior Interstate Series in 1976, 1977 and 1978. 9. Do any memorable moments come to mind? Hitting a four-wood to around eight feet at Royal Melbourne’s 18th to defeat Roger David one-up playing in the 1972 Junior Interstate Series. The putt was conceded for the win. That sticks in the memory bank. 10. Did you have any individual wins at junior level? Yes, I won the SA Schoolboys in 1968 by seven shots, and the SA State Junior Championship in 1972. 11. I imagine you won a number of Club Championships over the years too? I won the North Adelaide Club Championship in 1971, 1972 and 1973 before moving to Kooyonga and winning there in 1975, 1976, 1983, 1985 and 1986. In the 1976 final I played against Chris Bonython (he won the Australian Amateur that year) in front of a gallery estimated at 300. That win was a real thrill. 12. You must have played in a number of winning Simpson Cup teams too, having played 213 games? At Kooyonga I played in seven winning teams, including five in a row from 1973 to 1978, and then 1989 and 1990. 13. Before I forget, I believe you may have caddied for one of Australia’s greats? When I was 14 I caddied for Peter Thomson over 72 holes in the 1965 Advertiser 1000 at Royal Adelaide. The weather was shocking for all four rounds, but his ball striking was unbelievably good, especially considering the weather. I was paid £30 – not bad money back then. 14. Have you had any other individual wins we’ve missed? I won the Lord Mayor’s Trophy in 1971, 1973, 196 and 1977, as well as the Champion of Champions in 1973, 1975 and 1976. I was also the leading amateur in the 1975 SA Open. 15. I’ve heard on the grapevine that you might have taken a good scalp in the Australian Amateur in 1976 at Royal Adelaide. Yes, I played Tony Gresham in the round of 16 and defeated in 4 and 3. I was 4 under that day so played really well to win. 16. You have also played in the odd winning Tea Tree Gully Teams in Senior Pennants? I was fortunate to qualify by age for the first year it was run. Have since played in 11 of the 13 pennant finals. Whilst I did not play a great number of games until I retired a few years ago, I have played in at least one game or more during each season. May the winning TTG streak continue. 17. Who is your favourite player? Gary Player. 18. Your favourite club? Putter. 19. Having played just “a little” golf over the years, you must have an understanding wife… Yes, Vincenza, along with our two sons – a very understanding wife. 20. You’re still playing good golf off a low handicap at the age of 68. Do you enjoy the senior golf competition? Immensely and it is great competition. 21. Before you run of time you should get on and win the SA Senior and complete the trifecta of each age group? Yes, that would be a good finale, wouldn’t it? Congratulations Mike on a great amateur golf career in South Australia. A lot has changed in the 60 years since you caddied for Jack in the very late 50’s. What a career. Well done, and again, congratulations!
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