Hearn bids farewell after 25 years at Bermagui - PGA of Australia

Hearn bids farewell after 25 years at Bermagui

Almost 25 years to the day after he took the keys to the pro shop as the new PGA of Australia professional at Bermagui Country Club, Chris Hearn has left a job that has given him so much, but not nearly as much as he gave the club and its golfers.

Hailing from Sydney and starting his PGA training in the 1970s at New Brighton Golf Club (Brighton Lakes), Hearn travelled Australia playing the game professionally before settling in the South Coast of New South Wales.

Hearn took over the contract at Bermagui on April 1, 1999, and raised his children with wife Joan.

Following a run of professionals who were in the role for short periods, Hearn took the job with the full intention of staying on at Bermagui, and went straight to work, including personally being on site for 63 straight days.

Reflecting on his time as a highly respected teaching professional and friendly face to the members and visitors to the spectacular South Coast, Hearn remembered asking a player from the ‘Chook Run’ to mind the shop after those 63 days to go to the bank.

However, mostly his memories are of the people during his time that ended on March 31, 2024.

“I like talking to people and stuff like that. If someone came into the shop, I’d say, ‘How you going? Where are you from?’,” Hearn said.

“I’m just always interested in where people played. Basically, just the social side of it with the people and all the members.

“It’s been so good for us here. It’s just amazing. We are not going anywhere. I’ll see if I can play a couple of tournaments and teach a bit down here and just keep myself occupied.”

Speaking on the changing nature of Bermagui, where Hearn claims you couldn’t buy milk after 5pm when he arrived before the turn of the century – and where membership was $69 a year at the time – the 66-year-old will continue to teach at local clubs. But perhaps with a little more time spent at home.

Noted around the country for his teaching, with Gary Barter a regular sharer of swing thoughts, Hearn’s ability as a player has likely been missed by the thousands he has served with a smile on his face behind the counter, or on the teaching tee at Bermagui.

Playing four Australian Opens, including teeing it up with the likes of Ian Woosnam, Rodger Davis, Ian Stanley and Graham Marsh, Hearn remembers once driving a young Vijay Singh from a Pro-Am at Tullamarine to Flinders Street.

But while he has mixed it with big names from both here and abroad, many of Hearn’s favourite memories often include two fellow PGA of Australia members.

Travelling with the late AIS coach Ross Herbert led to Hearn meeting Joan on a blind date, while his great mate Larry Canning is a regular in tales.

Canning was one of those to speak at the Chris Hearn Golf Day held on March 23, when 144 players teed it up, that number swelling for the dinner that evening to honour his time at Bermagui. Brett Officer, Peter Lonard and PGA of Australia Chair, Rodger Davis, were among those to send messages of congratulations.

“It was fantastic,” Hearn said of the day and night.

“A lot of the guys sent messages. Brett Officer spoke and wished me all the best. I can remember playing with him in my first tournament, the 1978 New South Wales Open at Manly Golf Club.”

Beyond the countless stories with some of the biggest names in golf, and his love of the South Coast and Bermagui Country Club that will forever be linked with his name, Hearn also speaks proudly of his 45 years as a member of the PGA of Australia.

“I’ve always been proud to be a PGA member,” he said.

“It’s the camaraderie and stuff like that. I went to all the trade shows and all the seminars where they had all the guys that come out, Hank Haney, Jim Ballard, Gary Edwin and all those guys.

“It’s been so good, beautiful to us.”

Headlines at a glance

Media Centre