‘It’s about giving back’

Bruce Boivin with a 2007 NZ Open cap signed by winner Richard Finch at The Hills. PHOTO: PHILIP...
Bruce Boivin with a 2007 NZ Open cap signed by winner Richard Finch at The Hills. PHOTO: PHILIP CHANDLER
As a volunteer, keen Queenstown golfer Bruce Boivin’s been on course for every local New Zealand Open, going back to 2007 at Arrowtown’s The Hills when winner Richard Finch signed his cap.

The 74-year-old - who’ll be a walker-scorer with the first group to tee off at the next NZ Open, at Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort, at 7.30am next Thursday - has performed several roles.

Others include driving players to the course, working as a marshall and on the driving range, and updating the scoreboard at The Hills’ 18th.

With his Rotary club hat on, he’s done carparking duties and cooked on a BBQ.

At Millbrook last year, he was walker-scorer for eventual winner Brendan Jones during one of his rounds.

The job’s not very hard, he says.

"I’ve just got a walkie-talkie, and at the end of each hole you call out players’ names to a central scoring area.

"They then repeat it back to you to make sure it’s accurate, then it goes up on the scoreboards."

Boivin, who’s worked all four days, rather than two, since retiring as a lawyer in 2019, says he started playing golf at about 14, and nowadays plays about 100 rounds a year.

A Queenstown Golf Club life member and former president, he says getting close-up views of top players is one of the reasons he volunteers.

"I mean, you want to see a sport you play, played at the highest level.

"And when I was really young I learned if you’re involved in a sport for a number of years, you have an obligation to give back.

"That’s easy to do when you can walk around with some of the top players and soak it all in."

He might have the odd word with them, "but I think a walker-scorer’s job is to keep up and shut up".

"It’s also nice to see pros hit some really bad shots occasionally - it makes you think, they can do it, I can do it easily."

However, Boivin adds, "you also realise how bloody good they are, and how hard it is for the younger ones to break through".

As for next week’s Open, he’s hoping to see local hope Ben Campbell win, "because he’s been runner-up twice and he’s been cracking it".

 

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