The Daddo Family Reserve has Taught Me There’s No Time Quite Like Family Time, Especially When It’s On The Golf Course.

“WE’RE all gonna be here forever

So Mama don’t you make such a stir

Just put down that camera

And come on and join up

The last of the family reserve”
– Lyle Lovett. 

It was these words by Lyle Lovett that served as the inspiration for what became an institution within the Daddo family – the Timeless Family Reserve. It’s a golfing competition that would become “A tradition unlike any other.”

We’ve come to love this time among the increasingly rare occasions when enough of us in are the same spot on the same day, in golf shoes and polos, to play for it.

I built a trophy, too. The Claret Jug? Please, this thing is a beauty to behold.

Cut from a 19th century Oregon workbench that was being remodelled into a dining table, the body has old broken watches to remind the lifter how significant their achievement is in time. Rolex, Breitling and Omega (all copies) sitting beautifully flush against the vintage timber.

The Rolex still ticks.

And atop this slab of history, sits a magnificent, silver goblet of understated proportions that ages the way the rest of us do. A youthful, vivacious shine has dulled slightly, leaving a kind of wrinkled, balding finish to the cup. It’s ageless in that stunning way … we think.

The treasured Daddo Family Reserve trophy, fully equipped with timepieces.
The treasured Daddo Family Reserve trophy, fully equipped with timepieces.

But here’s the thing – what it loses in beauty it easily recovers in the currency of emotion. Families love battle, don’t they? Maybe we should play it at Christmas time when everyone’s revved up like vikings, absolutely ready to go at the hint of an opportunity.While it’d be crass to come out and say we want to win The Timeless Family Reserve, the truth is, we really do. Badly. The rules have been stacked to keep the participation numbers down and the odds of victory up.

You have to be part of the family – ours isn’t as big as it seems. To play, you have to have an official handicap. There’s no negotiation, no arguing that someone hasn’t picked up a club in nine months and it’s not fair they have to play against someone like me because I play 11 times a week and “wah, wah wah

So from a possible playing pool of 28 people, the field suddenly becomes very pointy with only six legitimate starters. Three of those belong to people in their 70s, and one to a 16-year-old who would love to play but has to go to school. We all acknowledge that’s a dreadful shame because he’s a bandit off 20-something.

And we don’t do gimmes. Everyone loves that rule in the way everyone loves offal for dinner, but it’s easier to say “put it in the hole” than argue over how easy it is to miss a short, sliding putt.

So, very occasionally we get together to engage in mortal, meaningful, familial combat. Every family should do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s darts or quoits or croquet or skulling schooners of light beer. Finding a reason for families to engage should be paramount.

This month, for the first time since 2007, we got together at Manly Golf Club for the Timeless Family Reserve. There, four of us were in varying states of excitement.

Someone thought the white tees were too far back and wanted to play off the red tees. I suggested they were for ladies, and that handicaps were designed to make up for the differences in golfing ability.

Someone pointed out that someone didn’t have a valid handicap. This someone suggested a handicap of 24 or 25 because he hadn’t played in two years.

Someone suggested he perform a sexual favour upon himself – and play off the ladies tee. He threatened to leave. Everyone roared, “Why would ya? This is bloody great!”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “What are you gonna do instead? Knit a scarf so you don’t catch a cold at lawn bowls?”

It was a good day – tense and intense, and fun all the while. 

It’s a shame there has to be a winner, but then, that’s the magnet that had brought us all together. And it came down to a five-foot, left-to-right slider that would have dropped if it’d been hit better. “Bad luck,” said the winner.

“I know,” said the loser. “It hit a spike mark. You saw that, didn’t ya?!”

The winner only agreed because he was the winner and he didn’t want the celebration being cut short by a bout of quivering bottom lip.

It may be time to talk about loosening the rules a little. Widen the net within the family, drop the pretence of handicaps and let the kids be involved.

It’s the only way it’ll survive, right? Let the youngsters learn the family way; let them love the Reserve.

It’s never really about the golf, anyway. It’s about time quality together as a unit.

But just to keep it real, they can play off 10 until they’re official.