New Zealand Golf legend Stuart Jones passed away “naturally and peacefully” yesterday afternoon surrounded by his family aged 87.


Jones, who was inducted into the New Zealand Golf Hall of Fame in March for his incomparable record in the national amateur game, turned 87 on Tuesday and passed away the following day.
The Jones family has chosen not to have a public funeral for Stuart rather opting for a private cremation with his family and close friends.
The Hastings Golf Club will stage an informal tribute evening for Jones on Saturday July 21 at 5pm where all are welcome to pay tribute to the man known as “The Emperor”.
New Zealand Golf Chairman Philip Hassall said it was a sad day for both the Hastings Golf Club and the national golfing community.
“He was a New Zealand golf legend in every sense,” said Hassall.
“New Zealand Golf was pleased to recognise his outstanding career as a member of the New Zealand Golf Hall of
Fame before he passed. The tributes that flowed for Stuart that night were testament to the quality of the man. 
“His record of winning the New Zealand Amateur Championship on seven occasions and representing New Zealand at the Eisenhower Trophy seven times is phenomenal and unlikely to be ever be repeated in our game.
“Not only that, but Stuart was a great person. He had a lifelong passion for the game and that showed in how much he gave back to the game over the years.
“It’s a sad day for New Zealand Golf but when anyone looks back on the career and life of Stuart Jones they will remember a true legend.” 
Hastings Golf Club President Howard Padman, who had been good mates with Jones for more than 60 years, said that he was a great person both on and off the course.
“He was a great man to be around and he’ll be sorely missed,” said Padman.
“Already tributes are flooding in from golfers around New Zealand and that will continue over the next few days as we remember his life and pay tribute to a great mate.
“His amateur record speaks for itself and during that period he was feared by every amateur golfer in the country. 
“Stu was a very likeable guy to be around. He never argued on the course about any rulings or anything, he backed himself to win and more often than not he did.”
Jones was visited by his good friend Sir Bob Charles in March when he was inducted into the New Zealand Golf Hall of Fame. That time with Charles was special to Jones. Padman said the past few months had taken a toll on him. 
“His wife passed away three weeks ago, he had to move out of his home, he had a number of falls and sickness to overcome - all of the adversity he had faced added up and I think that was enough for Stu.
“He went naturally, peacefully and surrounded by family and you can’t ask for better than that.”
Jones was without doubt the greatest amateur golfer this country has ever produced with an unprecedented record which is still talked about today. 
He was dubbed “The Emperor” by the doyen of New Zealand Golf journalists Sir Terry McLean, who acknowledged his outstanding record which occurred during a period when competition was fierce with the talents of Bob Charles,
Ross Murray, John Durry, Ted McDougall, Ross Newdick and Walter Godfrey all champions in their own right. 
He will always be associated with Hastings Golf Club at Bridge Pa where his career started in 1947. A scalding received from a Wairakei geyser cut short a promising rugby career, but he took to the game of golf with such enthusiasm that within two years he became club champion. 
This signalled the start of an illustrious career where for years many marvelled at his ball-striking skills as he won title after title. 
From his early success at Bridge Pa his achievements quickly blossomed and he began to be the player to be reckoned with at first provincial, then national and ultimately international level. 
He represented New Zealand from 1953 to 1975, playing in seven Eisenhower Trophy events. His most notable achievements came when he won two professional events and the 1967 Canadian Amateur Championship.
Together with seven New Zealand Amateur titles Jones’ record is unlikely to be matched in this modern era.
Jones made 15 holes in one throughout his golfing career with his first coming on his honeymoon in 1948. 
With such an outstanding record it was little surprise Jones was named the first-ever Hawke's Bay Sportsman of the Year  in 1966, invested as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1977  and elected to the New Zealand
Sports Hall of Fame and awarded life membership of the Hastings Golf Club. Stuart Jones has not just been a standout – he has been a legend. 
Jones’ record and love of the game made him an obvious choice to become a member of the New Zealand Golf Hall of Fame.
Stuart Jones’ amateur record 
-              New Zealand representative from 1953 to 1975
-              Seven appearances at the World Teams Championship, known as the Eisenhower Trophy 
-              Winner of two professional events
-              Winner of the Canadian Amateur title in 1967
-              Winner of the New Zealand Amateur title in 1955, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966 and 1971 
-              Winner of the North Island Amateur in 1953, 1966, 1970, 1972 and the South Island Amateur 1964 
-              Winner of the New Zealand Foursomes title in 1960, 1963, 1965 and 1972





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