Rose Paton played her first game of golf in the late 1970s at Wynyard Golf Club. Her handicap stayed on 36 for almost a year, until buying a brand new set of clubs from David Good, and took advantage of the free lesson that came with them.
Wynyard suited her because it had Sunday medley competitions and a chicken run in summer. These were important as for 36 years of golfing she worked full time and most women’s golf was played on weekdays. This has had a major effect on her current beliefs about women’s golf and how now, more than ever, it needs to cater for students and women who work.
Rose’s handicap decreased to 18 before a work transfer to Ulverstone in 1986. Struggling to play competition golf at Ulverstone she suggested getting a handicap off the men’s tees in order to play the Saturday competition. The Club’s response was a business women’s comp on Saturdays - possibly one of the first in the state. As men used both tees, women were permitted to hit off at 1:00pm meaning sometimes finishing in the dark in winter.
Rose assisted with junior golf clinics, served on the NW Junior Golf Council and represented the NW at state junior meetings for several years. Concerned that working women could not play pennant, Rose and Jane Donohue began a successful businesswomen’s pennant on Sundays in the late 1980s. Her handicap reduced to 13 quite quickly.
Partnering Don Cameron and Paul Marshall, she took out several NW and State Mixed Foursomes Championships in the 80s and 90s. Selection to the state squad in 1988 unfortunately had to be passed up due to another commitment and even though Rose later reduced her handicap to 5, she was never selected again.
Rose has represented the North in the annual N v S match (a competition she loves) for many years, several times as captain and most recently as manager. She is currently women’s President and a board member of the UGC, President of WGT-NW and NW Rep on Tasmania’s Tournament, Rules and Rating Committee.
Golf Australia’s Vision 2025 reflects the worldwide acknowledgement that golf as a sport is still largely gendered, with men controlling administration and determining when and how it’s played and how funded. Vision 2025 aims at getting more women playing the game and taking up administrative positions. It’s inevitable that the NW Men’s and Women’s Committees will merge, more men’s and women’s events will be run jointly, and more events will be held for women on weekends. But in that merging, we must ensure that the best things about how women run golf for women are not lost.
Changing lifestyles and work patterns for all golfers mean changes to traditional models of weekend and weekday golf are necessary. Golf Australia encourages more fun golf and welcomes more social golfers. However, Rose worries that courses will suffer if clubs can’t maintain a solid membership base.
Golf is one of the most highly skill-based games and an ongoing challenge that Rose will always love.