The Local Golfer's Aussie Legends:

Origins of Australia's PGA Greats

(2 Minute Read)

Taking up the sticks is no easy task, but once you've braved the first step, you'll get the bug. Australians live and breathe golf, watching as it evolves with those who love it most. As a result, Australian golf is inspiring, addictive, and constant. We have our Aussie Legends to thank for that. 

This series of blogs will be an 18 hole highlight of our household named greats! Before and after their pro days, those who have changed the game, benefiting the sport and the community with their success. This is The Local Golfer's Aussie Legends; Origins of Australia's PGA Greats.

Hole No.1 - Jack Newton

Fun Fact: After his accident, Jack Newton played off 12 with one arm.

Cessnock born and bred, Jack Newton OAM (1950) was the pinnacle Aussie bloke. Solid and hard-working parents; with a driving mentality, sport and family always in the foreground. 

Newton's mother, an avid golfer, certainly rubbed off on him. Learning to play golf on the local Cessnock courses, Newton was endowed with talent and passion. So when the family moved to Epping, Jack continued his amateur golfing amidst several school grade sports from Rugby, League, Soccer, and Cricket.

Turning Pro in 1971 and destined to change the game, Newton's Career was swift and bountiful. With many victories under his belt, Newton's most memorable game took place in Scotland, losing a playoff to Tom Watson - the game enamouring; the competition unforgettable.

At the peak of his career, Newton was a figurehead of Australian golf, but unfortunately, after a tragic accident involving a plane propeller (1983), our Aussie Legend lost his right arm, right eye and sustained severe abdominal injuries. 

In true Australian spirit, after a year of surgeries and recovery, Jack Newton, our first Aussie Legend of the series, bounced back, took what he was given and made more than just the most of it. 

Where to start? 

Founding the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation in 1986, Newton paved the way for the future of golf. The support for young elite and amateur golfers alike created a gateway for passion and intrigue, resulting in generations of golfers to come. 

Newton's goals for junior golf's legitimacy were realised by establishing a hands-on coaching style. This progressive approach brought forth opportunities for young golfers to learn and compete, just like the adult professional scene.

In the 1990s, Jack was diagnosed with diabetes, and again he didn't let that interfere with his plans for Australia's golfing community.

Already heavily involved in the Celebrity Classic, renamed to suit, The Jack Newton Celebrity Classic, headed by Jack Newton as of 1985, was yet another of Newton's innumerable achievements to take the Australian golf spark and make it a staple household flame.

'The Jack' brought people of all calibres together to raise money for two fantastic causes; Jack Newton Junior Golf & Diabetes Australia. Aside from raising millions for both charities, no small feat, Jack Newton brought 'The Jack' to his home in the Hunter-Valley Region to again place a spotlight on the wondrous power of golf. 

Newton's influence on local golf is astounding, and the work he has done to create a sense of community within Australian golf is legendary. Alongside his charity work, commentating, and tour organisation, Jack helped design Cessnock Golf Course in his hometown, Kangaroo Valley's Golf and Resort Course and Links Lady Bay Resort Course (SA).

Amidst all of his greatest achievements, we have omitted the most important. Whilst being a professional golfer, a junior golfing pioneer, a foundational operator, a commentator, a course designer, and an Australian golfing advocate, Jack started and raised a beautiful family with sport and community in the foreground.

Jack and his wife Jackie had Clint and Kristie. They too understood the importance of community, Clint becoming an NRL player for his local club, the Newcastle Knights, his father an avid supporter, and Kristie following in her father's footsteps, becoming a pro golfer.

Jack's family have supported him through the tough and the tremendous. Unfortunately, in 2019 Jack was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, yet he continues, water off a duck's back. He stepped down from the board of Jack Newton Junior Golf, with his son Clint stepping up to continue the family name.

Jack's unstoppable drive, passion for the sport and community, and unfathomable life, contribute to our love of Australian golf. Not many can claim to have inspired multiple generations of golfers, but Jack Newton can, and for this, and all he has done for the game, he is our first Aussie legend.

Rest in Peace, Jack Newton.

April 19, 2022 — Ben Breckenridge