Tribute to Kel Nagle

Kel Nagle's 50th Anniversary of winning the 1960 Centenary British Open Championship at St Andrews Golf Club, Scotland.

Kel Nagle defeated Arnold Palmer by one shot to take victory home once again to Australian soil. 

Arnold won the British Open Championship in 1961 and again in 1962  with Kel finishing 5th in 1961 and Runner-Up to Arnold in 1962. The 1963 British Open was won by Bob Charles from New Zealand but Australian golfing great kel Nagle finished in 4th place. From 1960 to 1978 Kel participate in all but two Open Championships.

Kel Nagle and David Mercer being interviewed at The Killara Golf Club. 7 July 2010The following article is from a tribute night to Kel Nagle and David Mercer conducted at The Killara Golf Club, Sydney, Australia, 7th July 2010.

This is a night that will go down into the history books of The Killara Golf Club and especially for all those who were in attendance.

My name is John Furze (Golf Professional) and I was there, and what a night it was.

The 1973 Open Championship was played at Royal Troon Golf Club and was won by Tom Weiskopf but I am sure that most people don't realize that David Mercer was one of the leading qualifier.

This was the 50th Anniversary celebration of Kel Nagle's win in the 1960 Centenary British Open Championship at St Andrews Golf Club, Scotland. On the 15 July this year it will be the 150 anniversary of the British Open Golf Championship itself and it is being played at St Andrews Golf Club.

What memories Kel must have as he sits back and watches this years Open Championship.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first staging of The Open at Prestwick in 1860, Past Champions have been invited to play four holes of the Old Course, the first, second, 17th and 18th,.

Sadly to say that Kel Nagle, the oldest  living Open Champion (90 years of age) had to decline his invitation due to health reasons but I can assure you that he will be there in spirit.

Sitting alongside kel at the main table that night was his dearest friend David Mercer and Australian Golfing icon Frank Phillips..

David served 44 years as Resident Club Professional at The Killara Golf Club until he retired and handed over the reigns to now professional Greg Hohnen.

 Itinerary for the Night - Wednesday 7th July 2010

Guests commenced arriving at the Club around the 6.30pm and were escorted to either the Lower Bar, Top Bar & Billiards Room which were all open for pre-dinner drinks.

As guests were all having a quite drink a special DVD about Kel and David was playing on all screens that were strategically positioned throughout the clubhouse.

The showing was a tribute to Kel Nagle and longtime friend David Mercer. This would continually play throughout the night except for when special speeches were made and  Tribute letters which came from far and wide were read out.

The Clubhouse dining room looked absolutely fantastic and as one gazed outside onto the veranda you could see tables set up with umbrellas and flares lit circling the whole area.

The Killara Golf Club Dining Room

 The Terrace. View from the Dining Room

As guests gazed outside the dining room windows they could see the Flares ablaze encompassing the umbrellas on the terrace surrounds.   

At 7.15pm all members and guests were required to be seated as Club member Michael Lumsden (Social Committee) officially opened the nights proceedings.

Michael then after saying a few words introduced Luke Elvy who was the MC for the night.

Michael Lumsden Opening the night's procedures

 Michael Lumsden officially opening the night's proceedings

Luke Elvy is the MC for the night

Luke Elvy, MC, introducing The Killara G.C. President Mr. Roger Gyles

Mr. Roger Gyles, President of The Killara Golf Club

Mr. Roger Gyles. President of The Killara Golf Club

The President of the Club Mr. Roger Gyles made his opening comments and welcomed all guests and members on behalf of the Club.  

He then made mention of the special guest for the night Kel Nagle, David & Barbara Mercer, Richard Mercer, Bruce & Di Nagle, Frank Phillips, Shuri Yasuda-Hines & Mollie Hodgkinson.

Roger then proceeded to introduce a very special video tribute to Kel Nagle from Arnold Palmer.

If only you could have been there to see Kel's face. What a surprise it was and so very much appreciated by Kel. 

Kel watching the video Tribute from Arold Palmer

Kel Nagle Watching the Video Tribute by Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer Pays Tribute to Kel Nagle on his 50th Anniversary win of the Centenary British Open Championship

Luke Elvy then gave everyone a complete overview of Kel's playing record.

He then asked both Kel and David how they had formed such na close friendship over all these years.

Luke interviewing Kel and David

 Luke Elvy Interviewing Kel and David

After the entrees were served and nice they were Luke introduced Mr. Greg Hohnen, The Killara Golf Club Resident Professional to say a few words about both Kel and David. The three of them are all very close friends and their lives and golf have covered a great many years. 

Greg the read a few letters which came from from Ian Baker-Finch, PGA letter from Max Garske & Peter Hines,and James Nitties.  

Greg Hohnen saluting Kel Nagle and David Mercer

 Greg Hohnen Resident Golf Professional talking and Reading Letters

After Greg completed his readings Luke then introduced the Vice President of The Killara Golf Club, Mr. Wal Macdonald to stand at the Lectern and read a very special letter from the Royal &Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Golf Australia and from Mr. Peter Thomson.

Mr. Wal Macdonald Vice President of The Killara Golf Club

Mr. Wal Macdonald, Vice President of the Killara Golf Club

After the conclusion of Wal's readings Luke was back at the microphone to advise that the main meals will now be served and that shortly after dinner the interview with Kel and David will commence.

After everybody had enjoyed their scrumptious meal of their choice and red or white wine the official interview commenced.

 Kel and David being interviewed by Luke Elvy

 Luke interviewing Kel and David 

At 9.45pm Luke closed the evenings formalities. He made a very special mention to both Kel and David coming along and contributing to a night to be remembered.

Luke said how much we now look forward to seeing the 150th British Open between 15-18 July 2010.

Standing Ovation Like Never Before

There was a Standing Ovation for Kel and David as they left the stage.

Throughout the night as my eyes wondered to all the various people who attended the night you could see on their faces that this was a night that would be fore ever remembered.   A night when one of our golfing legends would cast a spell over everyone present. They were just in aura to be in his presence of this Australian Golfing Icon.

John Furze Holding the Claret Jug

It was indeed a Honour and a Privilege when Kel Nagle came up to me to have my photo taken holding the Claret Jug which kel won in the 1960 Centenary British Open Championship at St Andrews Golf Club.

 John holding the Claret Jug

 The Killara Golf Club Management - The Team

To the General Manager Mr. David Gazzoli, Assistant General Manager Matthew Furze, Food and Beverage Manager Stacey Dawes and Staff congratulations on an event above and beyond.

A TEAM that should be proud of making this event the best in the History of The Killara Golf Club.

My congratulations go to Matthew Furze the AGM at The Killara Golf Club for his initiative and instigation of this extremely successful night. Well done Matthew and Staff.

These night are only as good as the preparartion that goes into it and I can assure you there were months of preparation and organization.

 It is You the Team that  has made this the Night of Night's at Killara.

Well Done !!!

Comment Received from USA - 23 July 2010

Hello John,

I am always amazed at what you can do with your website.

This addition is great and you have done an excellent job with the presentation of what went on.

Hearing Mr. Palmer make his speech is priceless. I would hope Mr. Nagle has a computer or DVD player and can see all the work you have done.

Sharing it with me makes me feel like I was there. I was but not in body.

You are an amazing man and I hope the world of Internet users who go to your website can appreciate what they are seeing and appreciate all the work required to make it happen.

Google told me it is the #1 golf website on the Internet. That is something.

Thanks John for your sharing and your appreciation of what Mr. Kelley has given us to work with.

Mr. Alex Sloan (USPGA, LM, GSED)

E-Wave Graphic Design & Website Development
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