Stan Sheather Final
Last Saturday saw the final of the Stan Sheather Silver Bowl between Grahame Onley and Brad MacRae. In an unusual engagement of game tactics on his way to making the final, Grahame Onley's dedication to task and driving skills prevailed and he won 2&1. The Stan Sheather Silver Bowl is the Club's only individual handicap match play event. But who was Stan Sheather and what was his history with the Club?
North Ryde Golf Club was initially formed in 1937 and leased the land on the current site from a private company, which was partly owned by Sydney businessman, Les Mernin.
North Ryde grew out of the demise of two 9 hole golf clubs in the area - the Rydalmere Golf Club which had played on the course known as Spurway Ridge at Rydalmere - and the Eastwood Golf Club which was located in the area now bounded by Blaxland, Lovell and Kings Roads in Denistone.
Stan Sheather served as Captain of the Club between 1944 and 1945. He became President in 1946, serving for a year and was President again between 1948 and 1952.
Between 1937 and 1948, the members of the Club continued to play golf on the leased land. Les Mernin had become the major shareholder and owner of the land and had been approached by the Club on numerous occasions to sell the land, but he would not agree.
Despite Mernin's reluctance to sell, Stan Sheather persevered. Stan got news in October 1948, that Mernin was about to leave for the United States on a long business trip.
Stan and his wife Mary rushed to Mascot Airport where Mernin was due to board a 2 am flight. In the middle of the night, before Mernin could board his flight, Stan had secured his agreement to sell the land to the Club.
But for Stan and Mary's midnight dash to Mascot airport, the establishment of the Club might have been significantly delayed or may not have happened at all! Les Mernin did not return to Australia and died in the US in June 1949.
Stan's efforts gave the Club a chance to get started in its own right, but a lot of hard work was required to raise the purchase price of more than 18,000 pounds - over $1 million in today's money.
The Club issued debentures to raise the money to purchase the land. Raising a large amount of money in years following World War II, to establish a golf club would have been a significant challenge.
At the end of the fundraising efforts, the Club faced a shortfall of 2,000 pounds. Stan Sheather again came to the Club's rescue, taking out a mortgage on his own home to cover the difference - a commitment of over $100,000 in today's money.
Had Stan Sheather not been prepared to take on what in those days must have been a very significant financial risk, we might not have a golf course to play on each week.
Not surprisingly, in recognition of his status as a founding father of the Club, Stan Sheather was elected a Life Member at the Club's first general meeting in 1949.
The Club owes Stan Sheather and his family a great debt and as members we should be grateful for his foresight and generosity. The Club's individual match play competition is a great way to remember Stan Sheather and for the Club to acknowledge its gratitude to a great man of North Ryde Golf Club.