Vic Malouf, the longest serving member of Beverley Park Golf Club, passed away on Monday 8 July at his home in Sans Souci after a year of ill health and many visits to St George Hospital.
Vic, affectionately known as "The Camel," was the heart and soul of the golf club and his memory stretched over seven decades.
He spent many years on the committee and was club captain for 12 years. Apart from life membership, he has also been honoured with 50-year membership and recently honoured with his 60-year membership along with great friend Bruce Apitz.
Vic joined Beverley Park Golf Club on May 19, 1954 and has seen more changes, personalities and golfers than anyone else associated with the club. His acceptance into the club was by Jack Mostyn, the long- standing club president and former Lord Mayor of Sydney.
During his golfing days, Vic managed to get his handicap down to six, although his handicap of nine remained a constant mark for more than a decade.
When he joined the club as a 22-year-old, the facilities were a fair bit more primitive, with a green hut being the clubhouse and administrative centre.
"It was like an army barracks, just a tenth the size of the current clubhouse, and when they needed locker rooms or additional amenities the club just added them on," Vic said.
Vic was a bookbinder by trade. He later drove a semi trailer for three years and then became a taxi driver from 1959 to 1995, allowing him plenty of time to play golf. During his term as a taxi driver he met many celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Johnny O'Keefe and other famous notables like Elle McPherson. He was a regular driver for Shirley Bassey, for 14 days straight, each year for more than a decade.
The memories of his time at BPGC remain a major part of his life, as do his three wives, the last Marilyn, who passed away on March 3, 2013 after a long illness.
When talking about the best golfer he has seen at the PARk, he has no hesitation in naming Bruce Crampton.
Bruce was a genius and had some stiff competition from the likes of Greg Norman, Bruce Devlin, David Graham and other pro stars.
Star amateurs that stood out for Vic were Harry Liddle, the finest that he has witnessed and Warren Emmerick, a long-term club captain up to last year and multiple club champion.
"He's been such a consistently good player for decades."
Vic had no problem recounting the wonderful work undertaken by the club members, who volunteered their services when required. He said in the 1950s, the members were given ice cream containers to remove cockleshells from the course.
"Distinguishing golf balls amongst white shells was not easy," he said.
Vic even named the fairways where the shells occurred most: the 6th, 7th, 12th and 14th as well as the 16th, 17th and 18th. The bucket brigade was still operating well into the 1960s with the shells sometimes reappearing after heavy rain.
He reflects on the past and commends the effort by the volunteers. More than 40 volunteers once laid the entire sixth fairway off the back of two semi trailers, with the turf coming from Hawkesbury. They also widened the tee on the 15th hole.
Vic laughed when recounting stories about Dennis McNamara, one of the great characters of the club.
"We were mowing the 16th fairway with push mowers one day after solid rain for weeks and the grass was several feet high. Dennis was on a push mower with only green shorts when a passer-by in Battye Avenue commented what a good job they were doing," he said.
"Denis replied, 'It was a lot better undertaking this than being inside - it was good to have day release from prison." The guy increased his speed quite quickly.
Vic was also a great help with other members in revamping the entire kitchen, which saved the club around $100,000. The next undertaking was the Pro Shop with Vic there to help once again.
"It would be hard to believe that there is a club anywhere, with more comradeship than here and the volunteer work by the vast majority is amazing."
One of the images few of us would have seen, is that looking from the clubhouse, Vic was able to see the traffic moving along Park Road (adjacent to the 14th fairway) as there were no trees or mounds to obstruct the view. He believes the fairway watering was one of the major features when constructed in 1969, but is firm that Billy McWilliam was by far the club's biggest asset.
Bill was everyone's friend and attracted many great names to the PARk. It's so hard to describe the influence he had on so many people, and feels certain there will only ever be one Billy McWilliam. He not only did amazing things for the PARk, but was revered worldwide.
So it's a great life that Vic Malouf has shared with many people at the PARk and apart from the tributes bestowed on him from the club for a lifetime of devoted service, the Centenary Federation medal presented to him in 2001 remains a major treasure and an award of a high distinction that few people in the region will ever have the privilege of receiving.
For the past few decades, Vic visited the club daily, passing on stories of the past to new members and to many of his long standing friends. He was always the first to put up his hand to help, whether it be fundraising, selling raffle tickets, work the drink cart on corporate days or attend the many functions.
He was the welfare officer of the club making regular visits to see sick members in hospital. He was also a pioneer of the Port Macquarie-BPGC bi-annual trips, which is celebrating its 60th year in November this year. Sadly it will be without the presence of Vic Malouf.
Vic's funeral will be held at St Andrew's Anglican Church, Rocky Point Road, Sans Souci at 1pm on Thursday with the wake to follow at Beverley Park Golf Club.