'Bloody awful' no fair way to take a shot at Dubbo

"Bloody awful."

That is how British golfing legend Tony Jacklin recently described a visit to Dubbo he made 40 years ago, a claim denounced by local golfing enthusiasts.

The comment, contained in London's Telegraph article Heaven and Hell, was one of several bemoaning our city.

Born in Scunthorpe, the son of a truck driver, Mr Jacklin did not mince his words when asked about his worst holiday.

"About 40 years ago I went to a place in the outback called Dubbo. I've never seen so many flies in all my life. Literally there were flies up your nose and in your ears and they just drove you insane. It was bloody awful and I never want to go back there," he said.

Staff at the Daily Liberal took exception to Mr Jacklin's remark, as did golf enthusiasts at the Dubbo Golf Course.

Dubbo golf club professional Craig Mears said the Ryder Cup golfer had obviously not played Royal Dubbo Golf Club and had judged Dubbo harshly based on his single visit.

"If he comes out here and hits it down the middle of the fairway, there'll be no flies down there.

"I'd like to extend a welcome to a Ryder Cup captain to come back and play at Dubbo."

Mr Mears recalled that 40 years ago Dubbo Golf Course was an 18-hole course, now it is a 27-hole course.

"It was still regarded as one of the best beyond the mountains, but I'm pretty sure he never called in and played golf here."

Mr Mears said he would like to extend a welcome back to Mr Jacklin in an effort to change his perception of the "fly-riddled outback town''.

"He can come and play the course if he wants to and now that he's into course designing if he has any hints or suggestions for us, we'll take them on board."

Mr Mears noted that the city had changed a lot in 40 years and talked up the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the Regional Theatre and Convention Centre as well as the many other attractions in the city.

Mr Mears recalls a famous incident in 1969 where Mr Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus were playing a Ryder Cup event.

"Nicklaus actually gave him a putt on the last hole which actually halved their match and halved the Ryder Cup but the US retained it. It was a historic moment and Nicklaus shook hands and said no one deserves that pressure.

"So if he comes to Dubbo and he's got a three-footer I'll make him putt it - I wont give it to him."

Local golfer Arthur Hoskings was showing them how it was done at "Royal Dubbo" when he decided to weigh into the conversation.

"If the flies bothered him, tell him to have a wash next time he comes," he told the Daily Liberal.

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