Former Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort stalwart Joy Neal has been posthumously made a Golfing Legend of Riversdale Golf Club.
In a special presentation dinner at the Melbourne club on June 2, Joy’s husband Bruce, 92, accepted the award. “I’m very proud of Joy being made a legend and she would be modestly elated,” Bruce told the Yarrawonga Chronicle. “It was an absolutely fantastic night.”
Joy, who passed away on May 22, 2015 aged 88-years, was one of six lady Golfing Legends out of the total of 24 Golfing Legends at Riversdale over the past 125 years.
All men’s and women’s primary pennant players from the commencement of pennant in 1899 were also formally recognised.
“This special evening is to acknowledge the elite golfers of the club and has never been attempted before,” the club’s Heritage Committee Bev Shatten advised Bruce beforehand.
It was 1969 when Joy joined Riversdale Golf Club. Upon presentation, which was attended by 140 people, Joy was referred to as “a dedicated golfer, keen competitor who won seven women’s club championships between 1976 and 1987, was elected women’s captain in 1988 and won foursomes championships on four occasions”.
In 1989, Joy and Bruce moved to Mulwala. Much decorated Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort Life Member Karen Droop, who paid tribute to Joy at her funeral in 2015, was pleased to learn of Joy’s legendary status at Riversdale.
“Joy was a very special friend of mine,” Karen said. “We played a lot of golf together and won Yarrawonga Foursomes and North East District Foursomes. She was a very tidy and neat golfer.”
Reflecting on the time Joy was lady captain 1995-96, Karen described her as “very, very conscientious, very fair, very nice, loyal and very pleasant” who was “so popular”.
An interesting side note between Joy and Bruce’s two golf clubs, is Riversdale’s course was officially opened in 1892 while Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort’s opening year was five years later, in 1897.