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Ultimate pro steps down

GETTING long-time Devonport Golf Club professional Ron Garwood to talk about his own exploits on the golf course is like getting blood out of a stone.
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He is a long way from being a self- promoter, even on the eve of his retiring after 28 years as the resident professional at Woodrising.

However, even he can raise a grin when he is reminded of the time he was the leader of the 1979 Australian Open at the Royal Melbourne composite course.

The then young Garwood was lucky enough to birdie the par four first and then managed an eagle on the par five second.

A glance at the leader board showed he was in front, but by the end of the four rounds young Garwood did not even figure.

Then there was the time when he was just 13 and was drawn to play with a fairly competent lady player in a mixed foursomes event at Seabrook (he was living at Burnie at the time).

The snooty lady scoffed at the idea and suggested that Ron, on a handicap of 13, was not a good enough partner.

But the next year Ron had reduced his handicap to just four and this lady quickly changed her attitude. She reckoned Ron would be an ideal partner.

And the youngster had great pleasure in informing her that perhaps she was not good enough to play with him.

Ron Garwood started his career, under the guidance of his father, when he was growing up in Westbury.

He turned professional at the tender age of 16, under the wing of the renowned Bill Husband at the Launceston Golf Club.

He later spent about five years in Melbourne where he followed the Australian tour with, in his words, limited success.

However, he did compete in a couple of PGA championships and four Australian Opens competing against golfers of the calibre of Hale Irwin, Greg Norman and David Good.

He was also a member of the Australian PGA Board for six years.

Back in Tasmania as professional at Woodrising, Ron has managed to win about 30 Tasmanian PG pro- ams, but does not set great store in those achievements.

However, he and then Kingston Beach pro, Rod Mills, captured the Tasmanian foursomes title seven times.

In fact, Ron has the record of having won every event on the Tasmanian calendar with the exception of the Tasmanian PGA.

Tony Fox, a single figure member of the Devonport Golf Club, who has caddied for Ron, is convinced that he could hold his own with any of the top-flight players if he could only putt.

He recalls one Tasmanian PGA, which Ron should have won with something in hand, but in which he finished only second to the late Doug Murray.

“From tee to green, he was superb,” recalls Tony.

“But he let himself down with his putting.”

And it is a weakness in his game that Ron Garwood freely admits.

Of the players he has seen at Devonport, he suggests that multiple club championship winner, Kevin Brain, was one of the best.

He also had great respect for the ability of Adam Holden, who was apprenticed to Ron and who is now a professional in Canada.

But he has despaired of some of the better golfers, who did not realise their full potential.

Outstanding among these, said Ron, was former Woodrising green keeper, Stewie Mathewson.

He could have been anything and held his own anywhere, but he was not sufficiently dedicated.

Ron Garwood has indicated to Devonport that he will retire at the end of June. But he is fearful for the future of golf club professionals in Tasmania.

“With the prices for golfing gear offered by the likes of Ray Drummond and on the Internet, I can see the time when Tasmanian professionals will do what they are doing in America and merely provide golfing lessons and selling clothing and logos. We just cannot compete,” he said.

Devonport Golf Club president Bev Holman said Garwood had certainly been the longest-serving Professional, following in the steps of Gerry Bailey and John Furze.

“Ron has served the club extremely well and has started and improved the golfing careers of many members,” she said.

“He has also been helpful to the board offering advice and ideas on golf, tournaments and club business.

“He has given an extraordinary amount of time coaching juniors over many years and assisted some such as Sarah Johnstone into the elite area. Sarah now represents the state and plays off a handicap of one.

“Ron has also given pennant players valuable lessons prior to many seasons which, I am sure, has contributed to the success the club has achieved during his tenure.”

She added that he had been a very generous sponsor for club tournaments and for the ladies, mens, veterans and junior competitions and had initiated the Corporate Cup event for our sponsors now a keenly contested annual fixture.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.


Hawks ready to fly,with trio back for clash

CHRIS Clarke’s South Burnie Hawks will be back at full strength when they take on Queechy Penguins at the St Leonards Hockey Centre Launceston, in their Greater Northern League Hockey clash.
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The Hawks have three inclusions this week that Clarke is hoping will be a boost for them, with Jordan Dart, Evan Davies and Patrick Todd all back from under 18 state duties.

The juniors were a thorn in the side of most teams last year and with the added experience of state duties they could be match winners.

Queechy coach Kahn Riley said the Hawks have always been tough opposition and with wins going both ways, he doesn’t expect to find them any different this year.

Queechy started strongly last week with all goals being a team effort when secondary touches finished the job, a play that the team has been practising.

Queechy devastated many defences last year with a formidable corner barrage and with the new style introduced by Riley they now have another weapon.

This game should be a willing affair and worth the gate admission.

The late game in Launceston is cross-town rivals Tamar Churinga and South Launceston.

Tamar was unlucky to be beaten in the dying stages by Launceston City last week and will be out to make amends and post its first points for the year.

Coach David Budgeon will be relying on Shane Ewart and Siebe Vanoorschot to get the front line firing and find a chink in the Blues defence.

Tim Reece, Nick Williams and Gene Purcell combined well last week for the Blues, their speed on the forward line should serve them well in what should be another close local encounter.

The Smithton Saints have three additions to their line up when they meet the Subbies at Meercroft Park Devonport.

Saints’ coach Kris Birtwhistle wasn’t keen to make any predictions, only to say the games between the teams have always been close and this should be no different.

The Subbies will add Mike Williams to their line up and with no injuries to report their coach will hoping to change their fortunes.

Burnie’s City Marians had a day out last week with a comfortable victory and on home turf Launceston City will need to dig deep to take the points.

The Bloods spokesman Kerry Davies didn’t think there would be any changes to their starting line-up.

Dave Towsend, Clinton Upchurch and Eddie Gates led the way last week and should trouble the Launceston defence.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.


Rawlings bullish about Johnnyace’s chances

IF THE pressure of having the only local runner in tomorrow night’s Maxfield Drilling Raider Stakes Final is getting to Andrew Rawlings, he’s not letting on.
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The Burnie trainer was cool, calm and collected yesterday when asked about his colt Johnnyace’s chance of taking out the $30,000 race.

“His preparation has not been too bad and he’s coming along nicely at the right time,” Rawlings said.

“He ran fourth in the heat after drawing wide so with a bit of luck he will have a good run.”

Johnnyace will start from barrier seven, on the second row, for tomorrow night’s 2665m mobile start race.

With regular driver Rohan Hadley on board, Rawlings said the draw would suit his horse.

“He should be able to work in good from there,” he said.

“The two favourites (Quastor Centurion and Beautide) are starting from (barriers) one and two, so if he can hold their backs he should have every chance.”

While Johnnyace has had seven wins from his 35 starts, Rawlings had no doubts about where victory in the Raider Stakes, one of the state’s premier four-year-old races, would sit.

“It would be the biggest by a fair way,” he said.

“It would be one of the biggest of my career as well.”

The Barrie Rattray- trained Beautide, who has won all three of his starts this campaign, looms as Johnnyace’s major challenger.

In tomorrow night’s other feature race, the Adam Brooks Group Granny Smith Final, the Scottsdale-trained Hilda Su, the winner of her last two starts, will go head to head with class six mare Klebnikova Leis and class seven mare Benediction.

Azarenka Leis, trained at Sassafras by Shelley Barnes, will carry Coastal hopes in the 2665m race.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.


Rates cut would not be a win-win situation for all

*(1/2)
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CHANGES in interest rates create winners and losers.

One commenter on a story at www.theadvocate杭州夜网.au headed “Rate cut hopes grow” on Tuesday wrote:

“Hope? Why should I hope that I get less interest on my savings?

“Like the majority of Australians, I do not have a loan, so why does the paper assume that a rate cut is positive for the average Australian?”

Here goes –

MORTGAGES

In 2011, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 36.2% of Australian households were home owners with a mortgage.

That covered about 7.95million Australians who would stand to benefit directly from rates cuts through lower mortgage payments or paying off their mortgages more quickly.

(This assumes fixed rates would also come down in time in response to any cuts the Reserve Bank may make on Tuesday and beyond).

A further 32.6% of Australian households were owners without a mortgage, covering about 7.2million Australians.

The third significant group, renters, made up 27.6% of households (about 6.1million Australians).

A number of those would be keen to get into the housing market, and lower rates would make it easier for them to do so.

THE DOLLAR

The high Aussie dollar has been a mixed bag.

It has led to lower import costs, but has also put great pressure on much of the manufacturing sector and on tourism.

In 2010, according to the ABS, 983,500 Aussies worked in manufacturing.

It would probably be conservative to assume the high dollar would be putting pressure on the employers of three quarters of those.

If so, that would be a ballpark 740,000 Australians whose manufacturing jobs were being affected or were in danger from the high dollar.

A further 752,800 Australians were employed in the accommodation and food services sector.

Assuming a quarter of those jobs were affected or threatened by the high dollar, that is a further 190,000-odd people.

Part of the reason for the high dollar is our interest rates, which are extraordinarily high by current developed world standards.

While that is a sign of relative economic strength, interest rates coming down closer to those of other developed countries would help bring the dollar down over time and ease stress on manufacturers and tourism.

RETAIL

Retail employed 1.24million Australians in 2010.

Retailers widely believe cuts to interest rates help lift public confidence and public spending.

Australians have become increasingly frugal in recent years.

BUILDING

Construction is another key sector regularly calling for rate cuts.

It employed 1.04million Australians in 2010.

Like retail, it is having a challenging period, with many firms under pressure.

BUSINESS

Cuts to interest rates tend to help many businesses by lowering their costs.

This can lead to increased profitability, support or grow job numbers and improve share prices over time.

SHAREHOLDERS

Most Australians own shares these days, either directly or through superannuation funds.

A rates cut would broadly be good for the share market and super balances.

SELF-FUNDED RETIREES

These people are some of Australia’s unsung heroes.

They reduce the burden on taxpayers by funding their own retirements and this will become increasingly important as the population ages.

They certainly have a point when they worry about rates cuts eroding incomes.

There are believed to be more than 280,000 of them in Australia.

Even so, those are relatively small numbers compared to some of the groups mentioned above.

CONSUMERS

While a rates cut would be an overall win for consumers, a lower dollar would push up import prices.

Those keen on plasma screens and other electronic doodads may do well to get in soon.

ON BALANCE

It seems clear many more Australians would benefit from a rates cut than would be significantly hurt by one.

The “greater good” argument, therefore, supports rates cuts.

So do recent economic developments.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.


Photographers’ perspectives

AN INSPIRING quote from Australian photographer Max Dupain has been reflected on in the exhibition In Response.
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Opened last night at the Burnie Regional Art Gallery (BRAG), it showcases the perspectives of local photographers Lisa Garland, Rick Eaves and Peter Lord on the following quote: “I find that my whole life, if it’s going to be of any consequence in photography, has to be devoted to that place where I have been born, reared and worked, thought, philosophised and made pictures to

the best of my ability. And that’s all I need.”

Lisa Garland focuses on North- West Coast people in their own environments.

“I love the intimate spaces and how we create them,” she said.

“The clutter, the character and the serenity of them.”

Rick Eaves is fascinated with the diversity of Tasmanian landscapes.

“My photos have a real textural unity and are quite evocative images,” he said.

“I love Bass Strait, the highlands, rural and coastlands, and the power of the West Coast.”

Peter Lord has gathered a selection of images including some from his 35 years as a news photographer.

“They capture the energies of my home, and my home was The Examiner at the time,” Mr Lord said.

“They are from my time of running through town roads, beaches, villages.”

In Response will run until June3.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.