In 1984 Les Zarnke, who was a former member of the Mackay Golf Club, returned to Mackay from Burleigh Heads and spoke to Leo Hartley about the Veterans Club of Queensland. A meeting was called to gauge what interest there was among Mackay senior golfers in joining this organisation. This meeting was called by Leo and Duncan Robertson and held at the Mackay Club on Wednesday, 3rd October 1984 with twelve people in attendance. There were a further nineteen apologies from intending members.
Mr. Zarnke addressed the meeting outlining the requirements, objects and benefits of joining the Queensland Veterans organisation and it was unanimously decided to form a Mackay & District Veteran Golfers Association with the following member requirements:-
- Must be a member of a recognised Golf Club.
- Must have a current Australia Golf Handicap, and
- Must be 55 years or older.
The first committee elected was:-
- President – Leo Hartley
- Vice President – Alan Mau
- Secretary/Treasurer – Duncan Robertson
- Captain – Harvey Robinson
- Vice Captain – Albie Howard
In the beginning competitions were held monthly in Mackay, Sarina and Pioneer Valley on a rotational basis with every second competition being held at Mackay. This was later changed to the monthly competition being in Sarina and Pioneer Valley twice each year with all other competitions being played in Mackay.
The first competition was held at the Mackay Golf Club on Sunday, 11th November 1984 with the second competition being held at the Sarina Golf Club on Saturday, 15th December 1984 and the third competition being held at Pioneer Valley on Sunday, 10th February 1985.
In March 1987 Proserpine was invited to join the Mackay & District Veteran Golfers Association.
At the annual general meeting held on the 3rd August 1987 it was agreed to increase the number of veterans competitions by playing every second Monday. At this meeting it was also agreed to allow ladies to play in their own comp at the end of the men’s field.
Over time the Veterans competitions were increased to every Monday and by this time Sarina were conducting their own events followed by Pioneer Valley.
Clyde McPhee was the Mackay & District’s representative to Queensland Veterans which met once a month in Brisbane.
In October 1987 application was made to the QVGU for approval to hold a Bicentennial Tournament in June/July 1988 which was approved. On the 21st January 1988 a special committee was formed to oversee the Mackay & District Bicentennial Tournament to be held in Mackay on 1st and 2nd August 1988.
In 1988 the Ladies were invited to form the Mackay Ladies District Veterans and they formed their own committee consisting of President – Barbara Robertson, Secretary/Treasurer – Margaret Hartley and Captain – Shirley McPhee. The Ladies played on the same day as the men fitting in with the men’s field.
The Bicentennial Tournament in August 1988 was the beginning of our annual Veterans Carnival at Mackay Golf Club, which is now known as the Wintersun Carnival. From 1989 to 1993 it was called the Mackay & District Veteran Golfers “Sunshine” Tournament which also included the Queensland Veteran Golfers Open State Championships in 1991.
The committee for our first Sunshine Tournament was President – Leo Hartley, Secretary/Treasurer – Duncan Robertson, Convenor – Clyde McPhee and Captain – Bill Rosel. Clyde McPhee held the position of Convenor, later to become known as Tournament Director, from the inception of the tournament until he handed over to Russell Griffin in 2002 as Clyde was elected President that year.
The annual Carnival became known as the Wintersun Veteran Golfers Carnival in 1994 with the inclusion of Sarina, Pioneer Valley and Proserpine Veteran Golfers Clubs, so that now in August each year we have six days of veteran men and ladies golf competitions, culminating in the 72 hole “Wintersun” Championships in Mackay.
With the formation of their own Veteran Golfers Clubs at Sarina and Pioneer Valley, the Mackay & District Veteran Golfers Association consisted of three clubs as Proserpine had become a member of the Whitsunday Veteran Golfers Association. On the 30th October 2007 Black Springs Veteran Golfers’ application to join the District Association was approved.
The Men and Lady Veteran Golfers elected their own committees and conducted their own competitions up until 2011 when a new organisation called the Mackay Veteran Golfers Association, consisting of both men and women veteran golfers, was formed on the 12th September 2011. The new Association was incorporated on the 7th October with Certificate of Incorporation No. IA39464 being issued by the Office of Fair Trading.
In January 2017 the District Association agreed to hold an annual interclub competition between the four District Clubs, with each Club hosting one round of the competition which would be a stableford event and the eight best scores from each Club used to determine the winning Club after the four rounds. The trophy is called “The Mackay & District Veteran Golfers Shield.”