Tasman golfer takes honours
Story by: JOSH REICH - The Nelson Mail - Photo by: MARION VAN DIJK - Nelson Mail
Most golfers never get the opportunity to call themselves a national champion.
But after taking up the sport at 60, Analee Emery only had to wait five short years for the honour.
Emery, an avid nine-hole golfer, took out the Sue Bunt Salver as the winner of the New Zealand Golf Women's 9-Hole Home Links Competition.
Over three months, competitors around the country teed up on a given day at their home course, which for Emery is the picturesque Tasman Golf Club.
They then sent in their cards, which are adjusted for handicap, to determine the winner.
Emery, who normally shoots scores of about 56, was on a hot streak, and recorded rounds of 50, 51 and 53, efforts that were good enough for her to take the title.
"It was a miracle," she laughed.
The main rule for the competition was that competitors had to use a Srixon golf ball, and Emery, who hails from Arizona, managed to dig out an old No4 ball for the three rounds.
"The No4 lasted me the whole competition, and wouldn't you know it, at about the fourth or fifth month I lost it, and what happened to my scores? Back up again.
"But it's what I attribute my win to."
As a late bloomer, Emery said Tasman was the perfect spot to play, despite its reputation as one of the more demanding courses in the region. "You play nine holes here and it's like playing 18 on any flat course.
"And it's the beauty of the course – as you walk around, if your golf isn't too good, you can look at the views," she said proudly.
She said nine-hole golf was the perfect way to enjoy the sport, especially for those who were busy with work or study, or like her, active in their retirement.
"I started golf when I was 60. Without the option of a nine-hole group to play with, I wouldn't have played.
"I think what NZ Golf is trying to do [promote nine-hole golf] is very visionary and very forward thinking."
Up to 25 women played nine holes on Monday mornings at Tasman, and a similar number played in the mixed competition on Fridays.