By Garry Howe
The Nar Nar Goon Masters social golf club has come a fair way in the past 24 years.
What started as a social hit of golf for a few blokes connected by the Nar Nar Goon Football Club has now burgeoned into three clubs – and they all came together for the first time at Lang Lang last Sunday.
The three groups hope to make the competition an annual event – pitting father against son and mate against mate.
The Nar Nar Goon Masters kicked off with a round at Berwick Montuna in March 1994. The original members were Nick Collins, Gerard Cooper, Greg Noonan, Eddie Hume, Mick Keysers, Paul Keysers, Chippa O’Sullivan, Mick Payroli and Andrew Rose.
Players have come and gone over the years and a core group of up to 20 players have regular hits locally and make sure they fit in a trip away at least once a year.
Yarrawonga was the preferred early destination, but they have also ventured to Barnbougle in Tasmania, King Island, the Gold Coast (where member Robert Threadgold now lives) and have been to Thailand three times, with another trip over there planned for July.
Andrew Rose, the official keeper of records, says they have now played 238 rounds.
About 10 years ago a younger crop of Goon footballers wanted into the golf action and, with the blessing of the Masters, formed a breakaway group.
They became known as the Von Nidas, simply because the second tier golf competition in Australia, behind the PGA, carried that name, in honour of Australian golfing legend Norman Von Nida.
The Masters looked for a third tier competition when the latest breakaway came along about a year ago and when they couldn’t come up with one let the young boys nominate their own.
They modestly went with the Goats – an acronym for Greatest Of All Time.
The two younger groups have had polo shirts made specifically for the occasion. That prospect was raised a few years ago by the Masters but one member – a doyen of the local legal fraternity – said there was no way he was wearing a uniform, so it was shelved indefinitely.
There are now three father and son combinations among the three golfing groups. Greg Noonan has sons Spencer at Matt in the Von Nidas, Mick Payroli has sons Jackson, Jordan and Tyler in the Goats, where Nick Collins’ son Sam also lines up.
The only player among the three clubs who doesn’t have a direct link to the Nar Nar Goon Football Club is Kooweerup player Jack Carson, a nephew of former Goon president and Masters member Dale Evans.
For the record, the Masters were beaten by both lots of apprentices on Sunday, with the Von Nidas pipping the Goats for overall honours. No-one is saying it officially, but an inquiry could be pending over a few questionable handicaps.
Coincidentally, as the three Nar Nar Goon groups celebrated their first coming together, another well-known social golf club, The Breakfast Club, also teed off at Lang Lang celebrating their 30th anniversary milestone.