There are always great stories at golf tournaments – it’s partly the reason the sport has such a rich and colourful written archive.
From the minute those first footprints are punched into the golden early-morning dew on day one, an eager raconteur would have a sore neck craning to take it all in.
And while it’s true at all levels of professional golf, like a fine wine of which many of them are now so fond, they only deepen with the age of the Legends Tour golfers.
After a three-year pandemic-enforced layoff, the New South Wales Senior Open roars back to life this week at Thurgoona, in the outer eastern suburbs of Albury.
And whether it’s a last hurrah, a first fling among the oldies, a reunion with long-lost mates or a building block to a foreign assault, every single bloke who tees it up this week not only has a story to tell, but they’re generally bloody good at telling it, too.
Which only adds to a golfing drawcard that, by its very definition, is already highly magnetic.
Almost every “golfing person” who has kissed their teens goodbye will know of at least a handful of this week’s combatants – probably an unfair word in itself given the substantially-less-than-brutal banter off the course.
If you closed your eyes and walked form the clubhouse deck, you’re a moral to bump into someone who’s been back-page headlines around the country.
There are winners of Aussie Opens, Aussie PGAs, Aussie Masters, US PGA Tour events, European Tour events and pretty much everywhere else golf is played competitively.
And – writing as a bona fide golf nuffie – it’s even better here because they’ll walk and talk with you as a spectator, understanding that the demands on their time nowadays is both a far cry from yesteryear and, putting it unkindly, most likely on a decreasing scale from here on out in their careers.
Come to watch Peter Lonard, Peter Senior and Peter O’Malley, three of the Aussie game’s greatest exports who have done it all and more and might soon begin to wind down their famously hectic schedules. Or not.
Come to watch Mike Harwood and Peter Fowler, ageless warriors who can be found grinding on driving ranges and putting greens long after wannabes one third of their age have packed it in.
Come to watch Guy Wall and Brad Burns, both arguably in the prime of their careers in their mid-50s and highly competitive with their bigger-name peers.
Come to watch Andre Stolz and Scott Laycock, two blokes still more than capable of winning on the “flat-belly” tour, and, like triple-sec cowboys pouring margaritas for the masses, having way too much fun to give it all up just yet.
Come to watch Jason Norris, whose birth certificate has just permitted him to play at this level, but whose mercurial game lives on a sharp julienne edge that on some days would have him still capable of matching the world’s very best.
Or maybe come to watch Richard Green, whose shoulders are even broader than his halcyon days. The sweet-swinging left-hander this week begins the final stages of the preparatory journey that he’s worked on for fully five years towards the final qualifying stages of the US Champions’ Tour.
And trust me, I’ve missed dozens of other live chances and reasons to visit Thurgoona.
What a week to be a golf fan.
Bring it on.