Andrew Shaw learnt his golf at Troon in Scotland. He arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1920 and was a member of Avondale Golf Club. He left in 1921 to take up a professional coaching position at Hamilton Golf Club. However, he was only briefly at Hamilton, returning to Christchurch in 1922 as professional at Hagley Golf Club before taking a position at a golf school in Wellington in 1924.
1926 New Zealand Open: The Miramar Golf Club, on a narrow strip of land in the south-eastern suburbs of Wellington, hosted this event on their course, bogey (par) 78 on October 15th and 16th. As the remaining major club close to the capital city, it enjoyed a large membership and a challenging layout in spite of the demands of residential growth and other development which had caused others to move outside the city environs.
The entries included several Australian visitors whose lack of familiarity with the local conditions was the reason given for their lesser prominence. A light southerly breeze on the first morning of the championship died away in the afternoon and allowed Dr.Ken Ross of Dunedin to lead the field from fellow amateurs A.G.Sime (Westport) and W.Dobson (Australia).
The second day brought strong northerly winds and the exposed nature of the course made scoring much more difficult, and although Ross remained leader after the third round, the professional’s Shaw and Moss edged him out by one stroke in the final round and were required to playoff for the title next day. Shaw won the play-off with a 76.
1929 New Zealand Open: Played at the Wanganui Golf Club for the third occasion since its inception in 1907. The course at Belmont was fast becoming a favourite venue for the event, perhaps considered a more central venue than some main centres and offers an excellent test of the game.
A feature of the 1929 championships was the high standard of amateur play which extended through the later match-play event. Amateurs Horton and Morpeth tied the winning of the Jellicoe Cup with 71, but for the latter, it was his final appearance before moving to Australia.
The large galleries that enjoyed perfect golfing weather were treated to some fine scoring, particularly on the final day when the top six finishers all reduced considerably their first day scores, none more so than amateurs Morpeth, Duncan and Horton.
It was Shaw however who triumphed, in showing an increased professional approach and preserving his first-day three-stroke lead
1930 New Zealand Open: Until this championship meeting at the Manawatu Golf Club’s Hokowhitu course on October 24th and 25th the record for a New Zealand Open in Australia or New Zealand was the 290 returned by Kirkwood at Rose Bay, Sydney in 1919.
By scoring 69 and 68 in his first two rounds at Palmerston North A.J.Shaw was able to coast to a new record which in New Zealand was only once bettered in the next twenty years. Good golfing weather on the first day changed overnight to heavy rain and the sodden fairways and greens described as “trodden to a sludge” seemed to bring out the best in the leading players.
For the amateur players, and several youngsters were making a most favourable impression, the S.S.S. 75 course proved a great challenge with Collins and Silk prominent and at the expense of others with far greater experience.
Shaw’s second round 68 also won him the Jellicoe Cup for the first of four occasions and his Open title was his third of an eventual seven.
1931 New Zealand Open: Hosted by the Christchurch Golf club on 15th and 16th October. In perfect weather, the course at Shirley, S.S.S. 74, was described in glowing terms.
“Thanks to the hand cutting of the greens, allowing a little more grass than the motor mowers permit, made putting safer, while the fairways were in such order that it is probably no New Zealand championship meeting has seen their equal.”
The titleholder, Shaw, began on the first day in fine form to take the lead by four strokes with 67-73-140. The well-performed amateur Ewen Macfarlane lay second with 73-71-144 and showed wonderful consistency on the final day to score 71-73 and finish with 288.
Shaw, on the other hand, scored 77 in his third round and it took intense concentration and all the great skill he commanded to complete his final round in 34-36-70, a total of 287 and a one-shot victory to retain the Open title.
1932 New Zealand Open: Played at the Wellington Golf Club’s parkland course at Heretaunga, S.S.S. 72, on November 4th and 5th. On the first day, in very good weather conditions Shaw, the winner for the previous three years scored 74-72-146 to lead local member A.D.S. Duncan by one stroke.
Other amateurs prominent on this day were Silk and Harold Black whose 148 and 149 respectively was only bettered by the two leaders with Middlemore professional Moss also on 148. Weather on the second day deteriorated and by the time Shaw reached the fourteenth hole in the final round, heavy rain was falling.
Conditions affected many during the afternoon, but the leading players coped well and Ernie Moss took out the Jellicoe Cup with a fine 70. Duncan, by now somewhat of a veteran maintained his position with steady golf, and in spite of some discomfort at the sixteenth where Shaw hit two provisional drives, he located the original in bounds and retained the title by five strokes.
1934 New Zealand Open: P;ayed at the Wanganui Golf Club’s S.S.S.73 course at Belmont in conditions that were ideal, following an earlier rain soaking making the greens “receptive”.
The program followed the format change in the previous year and the tournament was played on Friday, Saturday and Monday, October 5th, 6th and 8th. The seventy best scores and ties from the two rounds played on Friday and Saturday were eligible to compete in the final two on Monday.
During the first two days the amateurs Horton, Harold Black, Silk and Hornabrook scored well but it was Shaw with 73-71-144 the leader going into the final day determined to regain the title he lost to Moss at Titirangi. Horton shared second place with professional Bell on 146 with Black and Watt equal third.
Shaw gained the satisfaction he sought by repeating on the final day the scores he achieved on the earlier two days. It was brilliant rather than steady golf that proved the winner. Booming drives were tempered by putts that lipped out time and time again, and had they dropped the winning margin would have been well extended. T
hough not featuring in the top three places, the amateurs continued to play well with Silk winning the new trophy presented by Viscount Bledisloe for the leading amateur in the New Zealand Open.
1936 New Zealand Open: Hosted for the first time by the New Plymouth Golf Club on October 22, 23 and 24 the course drew a variety of comment. Though well-groomed in all respects, the lack of sub 70 rounds drew remarks pointing to severity, while Shaw claimed the course to be “the most tiring on which the championship had been played”.
However, it was agreed by the Club prior to the event that professional players may use the clubhouse lounge an extremely uncommon privilege. After two days of most pleasant conditions the field was led by Galloway with 72-72-144, followed by Guy with 147 and Shaw, whose second round of 78 was not typical of his form, scored 148.
Jack Black had a notable hole in one at the par 3 “Moses” in round one, the ball finding the cup on the fly. The titleholder, Murray, hit two balls out of bounds on the long eighth in his second round and from there never featured among the leaders.
Shaw followed his first-round 70 with a similar score on the morning of the final day, claiming a lead he extended in the afternoon. This was, however, the seventh and final Open victory for a man who had become a legend in his time.