Von Nida to be immortalized in bronze
BY Bruce Young | 23 Dec 2013
Norman Von Nida would have turned 100 on Valentine’s Day of 2014 and while he passed away more than 6 years ago now, the month of February might yet turn out to be another milestone in the life and times of one of Australia’s most significant and colourful golfing characters.
In an unveiling to be held at the Nudgee Golf Club, a bronze statue of Von Nida (to be known as the Von Bronze) will signal a permanent memorial to a man commonly referred to as one of Australian professional golf’s trailblazers, more especially in Europe.
John Hay, a stalwart of the Nudgee Golf Club and a fine amateur player himself in the 1950’s and 1960’s has been the driving force behind the push for funding of the project and the commissioning of the various components.
Sponsors of the project include Peter Thomson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman, Sir Nick Faldo, the PGA of Australia and Golf Australia and the Nudgee and Royal Queensland Golf Clubs both of which Von Nida was a member.
While much of the sponsorship has already been sold there are still a few sponsorships available for which those contributing will receive permanent recognition adjacent to the Statue.
Enquiries re those sponsorships can be made by contacting John Hay in Brisbane on 07 3357 5034.
Von Nida travelled to The Philippines and the USA first in the late 1930’s before heading to Europe in 1946 where he competed in numerous events, winning the Vardon Trophy in 1947 and compiling 16 European titles between 1947 and 1955.
He won three Australian Opens and four Australian PGA Championship titles, the last of those coming at Royal Melbourne in 1953 when he won his third Australian Open in four years.
While Von Nida had plenty of success on the golf course it is the manner in which he gave to others and took them under his wing along with the encouragement and self belief his success gave for those who followed that will be his greatest legacy.
Many of Australia’s greatest ever players benefited from the Von’s encouragement including Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle, Bruce Crampton, David Graham, Bruce Devlin, Jack Newton and others.
Norman Von Nida passed away in May of 2007 but the Von Bronze, which will become a permanent feature of the Nudgee Golf Club where the Von first became a member, will ensure his memory lives on forever for generations who did not get the chance to see him play or hear of the mentoring he offered others.