Shoal Bay’s Frank Ward returns to golf course with record feat

Frank Ward practicing his chipping.
Frank Ward practicing his chipping.

 

TWO years ago former Port Stephens councillor Frank Ward collapsed while putting on the 20th green at Nelson Bay golf course, severely damaging his vertebrae.

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Rendered an invalid, the then 86-year-old was resigned to never again playing the game he loved, giving away his treasured golf clubs to his son.

“The doctors’ prognosis was not good and I was constantly in pain so I thought there was no use holding on to the clubs,” said Mr Ward, a resident of Harbourside Haven in Shoal Bay.

“But a few months ago I was referred to a new doctor who prescribed anti-inflammatories and slowly my back began to heal.

“It wasn’t long before I was walking again without pain so I rang my son and told him to send me back my clubs.”

Following a 28-month lay-off, Mr Ward returned to the course a fortnight ago for his first 18-hole comp event shooting an astonishing one shot below his age – a feat many golfers would never achieve in a lifetime.

“I finished with an 87 and 41 points to win the stableford event,” Mr Ward, now aged 88, said.

Amazingly, this was not the first time the proud grandfather has made headlines playing the Nelson Bay course with his trusty golf sticks.
In the week before his 75th birthday, Mr Ward hit a purple patch reducing his handicap to single figures for the very first time and shooting his first ever hole-in-one on the par-3 fifth.

“A week later I was showing a young colleague how I had aced the hole, I pulled out my seven iron and you wouldn’t believe it the ball went straight in … two holes-in-one within a week.”

Born in Armidale and raised by nuns in an orphanage after his mother had died and father had a nervous breakdown, a young Frank has only happy memories of his childhood where sport played a major role.

“It was the depression years but my older siblings (a brother and sister) and I were looked after well by the nuns,” he said.
“Eventually I moved to Sydney to live with my Irish grandmother and finish school.”

Mr Ward captained the school rugby league side, moved into the real estate business and joined the Labor Party in 1956.
He was elected to Campbelltown Council and later to Port Stephens Council after moving to Shoal Bay.

 

By Charlie ELIAS

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