More than 100 people watched Cooper McCone honour his father on Sunday, when he hit the first ball of the Brendon McCone Memorial Tournament at the Te Awamutu Golf Club.
Brendon was the head greenkeeper at the club for over 25 years, until his sudden death in 2019, the day after his 51st birthday.
Brendon’s greenkeeping prowess was acknowledged on a national scale, and to recognise it, a strip of green from the Te Awamutu Golf Club was laid on his funeral casket
“I can actually say hand on heart that Brendon would be proud of our course today, because it is back up to the standard that he had it,” president Gordon Kirkham said on Sunday.
“It is a very very special day.”
When Cooper was five, his mother Donna died, which left Brendon to look after him on his own. During the school holidays Cooper would spend time with his dad while he worked on the course.
“He used to come to work with Brendon often, so this is like a second home to him, he’d often be falling asleep on Brendon’s knee on the mower when he was a little guy,” said Sally Palmer, Cooper’s aunty.
Cooper is now 14 and goes to Auckland Grammar School.
He is not a golfer but loves ultimate frisbee and is a part of the school’s premier team.
Cooper and club members alike were overwhelmed with the amount of people who had shown their support on Sunday.
Cooper described his dad as “very friendly, courageous and zealous.” He and his family plan to plant a tree in memorial of Brendon on Mount Kakepuku.
Oryn Hunapo was the first winner of the Brendon Memorial Tournament, with a nett score of 63. The trophy was presented to him by Cooper, and the club hopes that the tournament will become an annual event.