By Peter Owen
He’s a former professional golfer with more years’ experience than he cares to acknowledge, so you’d reckon there was nothing George Bell doesn’t know about the game of golf.
Some of it, though, he may have forgotten.
Playing in a group that included another professional, Eumundi-based Hugh Dolan, in last week’s Tuesday Club competition at Noosa, George was lamenting that he wasn’t hitting his short irons with the precision he’d like.
“Relax your knees, swing smoothly and keep your body turning during your follow through,” Dolan suggested.
It is advice he probably now wishes he’d kept to himself.
As was the case is almost every fourball played during Tuesday Club competition, the players had chosen partners for an informal contest between themselves, and Bell and Dolan were in opposing teams.
Putting Dolan’s tip into practice, George turned back the years, hit the ball cleanly and confidently, and eventually signed for a score of 42 stableford points.
It was enough for him to win the A grade prize – his first, he said, for as long as he could remember – and, just as importantly, to collect the side bet from his mates.
“I played well, but I did have a bit of luck,” George said.
“I got up and down from off the green for three bogeys.”
Though he acknowledged he benefitted from Hugh Dolan’s counsel, he said his putting had improved by gluing a sinker to his putter, adding weight to the head of the club and helping him better control the length of his putts.
George Bell has had a wonderful career in golf.
He grew up in regional NSW – originally at Bateman’s Bay, then at Young, where he learnt the game and became an outstanding junior golfer. He would drive to Sydney at weekends to represent Concord, then later, St Michael’s, in pennant competition.
Turning professional in 1976, George won at his first professional start – a 36-hole tournament at Liverpool, NSW. He enjoyed success on the national pro-am tour and finished in the top five at a New Zealand Open.
He moved to Noosa in 1981 and was appointed head professional at Tewantin-Noosa Golf Club, where he remained for more than a decade.
George won the Caloundra Pro-Am in 1991 and, that same year, he left Tewantin-Noosa to take over the old driving range in Beckmans Road, continuing to teach aspiring golfers until he scaled it down in 2010.
He’s always been able to hit the ball prodigious distances, and his name always crops up when golfers discuss the game’s longest hitters.
He once smacked a drive on the 577-yard 6th hole at St Michael’s that came to a halt on the front fringe of the green, though he modestly concedes that he did have the wind at his back.
George has just turned 80, though he looks and acts years younger, and is a tad embarrassed to admit he now played off a handicap of 10.
“I haven’t played off 10 since I was a teenager,” he said.
But he still went around the tough Noosa circuit in the mid-’70s on Tuesday, prompting him to recall that he’d ‘broken his age’ – shot a score fewer than the number of years he’d lived – three times from his past four outings.
“I don’t think I’ve been playing enough,” he said. “I think I’ll start playing on Saturdays as well as Tuesdays, now that I’ve found a bit of form.”
No wonder he’s a coach
Terry Price, the veteran Australian professional who regularly conducts golf clinics at Noosa Golf Club, showed he’s as good as any of the old masters when he shot two-under-par 68 to win the City Legends Pro-Am in Toowoomba last Friday.
Price beat Victorian Tim Elliott and Legends Tour Order of Merit champion Andre Stolz by a stroke. Noosa’s Hugh Dolan and Mark Tickle finished well back in the elite field.
Noosa flexes muscles in pennant victory
Noosa returned to top form in A grade pennant competition at the weekend, smashing Mt Coolum 5-2 and climbing to second position on the ladder with just one round to be completed before the finals.
Noosa is striving to win the A grade pennant for the fourth year in a row, but is facing a strong challenge from the unbeaten Headland outfit.
With No 1 player George Giblett beating Mt Coolum’s Stephan Scheepers 4&3, Noosa was never threatened by Mt Coolum.
Ryan Mulder (4&3), Sam Boulden (5&3), Bronson White (5&3) and Grant Baker (5&4) all scored emphatic wins, with only Toby Harding and Tama Stana tasting defeat.
In other A grade contests, Headland beat Maroochy River 5.5-2.5 to stay atop the ladder, while Caloundra and Peregian shared the honours with a 3.5-3.5 draw. All matches were played at Noosa.
In the B grade Black conference, Noosa beat Twin Waters 5.5-1.5, Shane Dunning and Lee Christie scoring good wins at the top of the order, while in B grade Red, Noosa 2 pipped Maroochy River 4-3. Noosa Springs went down to Nambour 4.5-2.5, despite Josh Constable maintaining his unbeaten run, and Cooroy lost to Mt Coolum by a similar margin.
In Masters Red, Cooroy and Mt Coolum drew 3.5-3.5, while Noosa Springs lost to Nambour 4-3.
Continuing Noosa’s remarkable day of success, Noosa’s Masters team beat Twin Waters 4-3 in Masters Black competition. Check out all the details at sunshinecoastgolf.org.au
Bargain rates for local golfers
Golfers who live anywhere on the Sunshine Coast, as well as Noosa and Gympie, can play 18 holes at Noosa Springs every Tuesday or Sunday for just $89 – that’s more than $30 cheaper than the normal green fee.
And the price includes the hire of an electric golf cart.
The Locals Special is an incentive for residents to check out one of the country’s finest golf courses at a rate they can afford.
And to encourage more young people to take up the game, Noosa Springs has introduced a no cost special for children to play after 3pm each day, except for Saturday.
Children aged under 17 play for free on those days as long as they are with a fee-paying adult.
Monday 25 July
Women’s stableford, 9 holes: Barb Allen 18c/b, Sandy Hyde 18c/b.
Tuesday, 26 July
Men’s stableford: A grade – George Bell 42, Clinton Stjernqvist 37c/b, Justin Morgan 37, Scott McKenzie 36c/b; B grade – Brad Edwards 38c/b, John Henshall 38, Mark Trevanion 36c/b, Allan Harris 36c/b; C grade – Guy Williams 38c/b, Jim Crawford 38c/b, Bob Mirams 38, Bruce Howden 36c/b.
Thursday 28 July
Women’s stableford: A grade – Tash Baker 39c/b, Fiona Watson 39, Ann Tummon 37c/b; B grade – Raye Cairns 36c/b, Heather Birt 36, Pamela Lavender 35c/b; C grade – Jessica Jedynak 38c/b, Elaine Lyon 38, Trisha Dunn 37.
Saturday, 30 July
Men’s foursomes: Stephen Jackson & Joe Franz 67, James Anderson & Roy Cooke 68, Chris Wright & Grant Baker 69.
Monday 25 July
Men’s stableford: A grade – David Hay 41, Paul Grant 38, Glenn Sunderland 37; B grade – Robert Flipp 39, Terry Quinn 38c/b, Greg Copeland 38c/b; women’s: A grade – Robyn Roberts 42, Sally Simmons 33, Elise Fisher 31c/b; B grade – Ruby Jaede 37, Jo Clayton 31, Dee Pugh 30.
Tuesday 26 July
Men’s stableford: Ray Brown 37, Lee Fletcher 36, Jason Childs 35; women’s: Lorna Finlay 32.
Wednesday 27 July
Men’s stableford: A grade – John Glennon 39, Stuart McFarland 37, Graham Young 36c/b, Paul Clayton 36; B grade – Michael Hart 36, Lindsay Burton 35, Brian O’Keefe 35, Vince Green 33c/b; women’s: A grade – Pam Burton 40, Kerry McFarland 38, Toni Liddy 33c/b; B grade – Marlo Douglass 35, Susan Walker 34c/b, Shard Lorenzo 34.
Thursday 28 July
Men’s stableford: Ryley Martin 38, Aaron Sugars 36, Dino Degotardi 33c/b.
Saturday 30 July
Men’s stableford: A grade – Paul Liddy 37, Greg Taylor 36, Fergus Legh 35, Ola Andresen 34c/b; B grade – Brian Cairns 37, Michael Hart 36, Graham Dill 35, Terry Gee 31c/b; women’s: A grade – Sandi Hoskins 33, Fran McLaughlin 32c.b, Dianne Hudson 32c/b; B grade – Barbara Sweeney 38, Rosemark Perkins 33c/b, Janet Young 33.
Tuesday 26 July
Women’s stroke, 9 holes: Glenys Bisset 36, Eve Hunt 39c/b, Wendy O’Hare 39.
Wednesday, 27 July
Vets stableford: Div 1 – Brett Le Moy 40, Cam Darby 36, Peter Jeucken 32; Div 2 – Tony Foster 34, Michael Lunney 34, Lance Horn 33; Div 3 – Dennis Beckhaus 36c/b, Andrew Carson 36, Jack Ruig 35.
Thursday 28 July
Women’s stableford: Tina Thomas 40, Kate Sawrey 39, Aileen Morton 36.
Saturday 30 July
Men’s stableford: Div 1 – Noel Ackland 37, Mark Arundel 36c/b, Pat Carroll 36c/b; Div 2 – Craig Black 37c/b, Derek Clayton 37, Tom Huxley 34; women’s: Jocelyn Rabjohns 34, Carmel Clark 33c/b, Kim Gladman 33.