‘Golf is a game for life’
When John Hobday’s father introduced him to golf at 10 years of age, it sparked a lifelong passion for the sport.
Mr Hobday had no idea his interest in golf administration and growing the pursuit would one day see his name added to the Queen’s Birthday honour roll.
The retired Nhill lawyer has won an Order of Australia Medal for his services to golf.
Mr Hobday said he was shocked to learn of his accolade.
“I’m not sure you ever expect something like this,” he said.
“It is a big honour. It means I was appreciated for a lot of the things I did.
“I have other friends who have achieved the same honour and I never thought I’d do the same as them.
“It was definitely hard not being able to tell anyone.”
Mr Hobday joined Nhill Golf Club in 1966 and was elected a life member in 1994 following stints as president, treasurer and captain.
He is a former secretary and treasurer of Wimmera District Golf Association and has been a Victorian Golf Foundation trustee since 2007.
Mr Hobday’s biggest achievements in golf have stemmed from his service to Golf Victoria, formerly Victorian Golf Association.
“I was in legal practice at Nhill for 40-something years,” he said.
“When I retired I became more involved in golf administration in the Wimmera district, then as a member of what was Victorian Golf Association and is now Golf Victoria.”
Mr Hobday was elected to the VGA council in 1993, became president in 1997 and was instrumental in a five-year amal- gamation process, which saw the VGA merge with Women’s Golf Victoria to form Golf Victoria in 2010.
“Bringing the men’s and women’s competitions together was one of the best things to happen to golf,” he said.
“I was very proud to be a of that amazing outcome.
“I was also the first president of Golf Victoria.
“Since the Victorian Golf Association was founded in 1902 I’m the only person from the country to be president.”
Mr Hobday became a Golf Victoria life member in 2010.
“Golf Victoria’s motto is: “Golf is a game for life.” It’s an important motto and something I would like to get out to everyone,” he said.
“Even if you have to adapt how you play due to age or injury, such as playing nine holes instead of 18, it’s still something everyone can be involved in – up until 90 years old if you’re fit enough.
“It’s an important sport for keeping fit, especially as we get older.”
Mr Hobday said his OAM was significant for Victorian golf.
“I think the honour also means something for the sport,” he said.
“People have always been aware of golf but I think interest in it is growing.
“A lot more school children are taking up the sport, Golf Victoria is working to get more women involved and they are also sending out golf pros to work with people with a disability.
“It’s important to find ways to make golf more accessible to the community.
“It is a sport you can play for life.”
• More Queen’s Birthday recipients, pages 12, 13 and 14.