Bryan Silk

​​​(1910 – 1995)


Bryan Silk

Inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Bryan Silk, who was born in Whanganui and lived most of his life in the city, rates as one of New Zealand’s finest amateur golfers.

He won every major national golfing title in the country apart from the NZ Open and early in his career was touted by legendary American golfer Gene Sarazen to try his luck and join him on the rich US professional circuit.

Bryan, who played Sarazen in an exhibition match, however, passed up the invitation and became a golfing legend in his home country.

He won three NZ amateur titles over a 13-year span (1934-37-47), was the leading amateur in the NZ Open (Bledisloe Cup) championship four times over a 29-year-span (1934-36-48-63), was NZ open foursomes champion twice (1950 and 1954) and won four NZ amateur foursomes titles (1938-49-50-54).

Bryan, who represented New Zealand eight times between 1932 and 1956 and managed the winning Commonwealth Cup team in 1967, was the first NZ amateur to win a professional tournament – the 1957 Caltex pro-am at Pararapaumu Beach.

He was a member of four winning Whanganui amateur teams at the NZ Open, won 10 Whanganui open titles between 1933 and 1972, claimed 17 Belmont club championships over 33 years and was in champion Manawatu-Wanganui Freyberg Rosebowl men’s inter-provincial teams.

Bryan, who won the Inter-Allied open tournament in Rome in 1945 by 20 strokes and using borrowed clubs, had a great natural ability on the golf course.

His fellow Wanganui Collegiate School mate John Hornabrook, with whom he won the national foursomes title, claimed that he could have become one of the greatest players in the world if he had played the American pro circuit.

Sir Bob Charles, New Zealand’s most successful professional golfer, in supporting Bryan’s Sports Hall of Fame nomination, backed up Hornabrook’s claim, noting that if Silk had gone to America he could have become “part of New Zealand’s rich (pro) golfing history”.

Bryan, who joined the Wanganui Golf Club at the age of 12 in 1922, founded the NZ Golfing Society in 1971 and was a NZ Golf Council member between 1965 and 1977, serving as president in 1980.

He was renowned for his extreme concentration on the golf course, his knowledge of the sport, his impeccable dress, and his perfect manners.

Bryan, a very successful chartered accountant who followed in the footsteps of his father, spent the last few years of his life in Christchurch with his wife Alison and son David.

Bryan Silk was truly a great ambassador not only for the city of Whanganui but also for New Zealand golf.

Page reviewed: 11 May 2016 11:28am