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Two Electrinet Park Golf Club stalwarts honoured

Two Electrinet Park Golf Club stalwarts with more than 40 years of combined service have been awarded life membership.

Recently retired course convenor Ray Grace and handicapper Evan Parkin received the honours at the club's annual general meeting last month.

Their names will be etched in gold lettering on the life members honours board.

But for both it's not about the recognition; it's all about doing their bit for the club.

“I was chuffed more than anything else,” Parkin said of the honour.

“You don't do these things for gratification. You do it because you want to.”

Parkin joined Gisborne Park “about 26 years ago” after being heavily involved in football and cricket.

Long-time Park member and fellow Gisborne Pirates club cricketer Allan Nairne — “he and I go back a long way” — encouraged him to “come out here and play” and that kickstarted things.

Having been “tangled up in sports administration for a good period of my life”, from Poverty Bay football to Gisborne Judo Club, Parkin soon became involved in the running of the Park.

“I've been the match convenor, on the executive for 12 years, acted as chair of the club committee and I'm now the handicapper.”

On the course, he plays off a 12-handicap and while yet to achieve golf's ultimate shot — a hole-in-one, something he notes son Matt has over him — he has won the prestigious Te Kanawa Cup men's pairs in 2001 with Peter Koorey.

A surge in membership has Parkin enthusiastic about the club's future.

“In my opinion, we've got some good younger guys on the committee . . . and there's a good atmosphere.”

The life membership honour was “quite overwhelming” for Grace, whose philosophy has clearly been “if you want a job done properly, do it yourself”.

Grace has been a regular fixture on the course since he became the convenor about 15 years ago after serving on the committee.

“I got tired of the deterioration of the place and kept moaning about it and someone said to me, ‘Then do something about it', and I said, ‘I bloody well will'.”

The course has come “a long way” since then, thanks to the commitment of Grace, green staff and volunteers.

The enduring memory for Grace has been “getting things tidied up and doing it properly, and being more accountable in different areas”.

The course has received high praise in recent years and Grace's presence is no coincidence.

“There were a lot of things that needed to be done, it's just like doing your housework. You tidy things up.”

Despite his resignation, Grace remains a volunteer and is keen to see the club build up its junior stocks — an area of concern throughout the district

Golf-wise, he continues to “battle it out” with the game although an ace was ticked off the “to do” list in September 2019 and he has several pieces of silverware to his name from his years at Patutahi and Park.

GIZZY PARK PROUD: Evan Parkin (left) and Ray Grace have joined the list of Electrinet Park life members in recogniton of their many years of service to the city golf club.Picture by Paul Rickard