Growing up in Lower Hutt, Bob Glading earned pocket money as a golf caddy, and he caddied at the 1932 New Zealand Open at the Wellington Golf Club at Heretaunga.
As a 17-year-old amateur player, he entered the 1937 New Zealand Open in Hamilton, where he tied for 28th place. In the national amateur match-play championship that year he lost in the first round to Australian Harry Hattersley 4 and 3. The next year, Glading contested the 1938 New Zealand Open at Balmacewen in Dunedin, carding a 72-hole aggregate of 298, to finish 10 shots behind the champion, Bobby Locke, and reached the third round of the amateur match-play contest.
After finishing second in the 1939 North Island championship, losing on the second extra hole, Glading finished seventh in that year’s New Zealand Open at Miramar, having been tied for the lead after the first round. He then once again reached the third round of the national amateur match-play.
In 1940, Glading won the North Island amateur championships, and in October that year, he set a course record of 65, 9 under par, at the Hamilton Golf Club. He won the New Zealand amateur championship in 1942.
During World War II, Glading was an officer in the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve and served with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, flying missions in Corsairs over Norway and in the Pacific. In November 1945 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, for outstanding skill and courage while serving in air operations against the Japanese during July and August 1945.
In 1946, he played as an amateur in the New Zealand Open at the Manawatu Golf Club, using clubs that he had made himself, and won the event in a play-off after a four-round total of 306. He repeated the win the following year at New Plymouth with a three-shot victory over Alex Murray, carding rounds of 70, 68, 77 and 76.
1946 New Zealand Open: After a six-year break during the wartime period, the Championship Meeting was reinstated at the Manawatu Golf Club’s Hokowhitu course on October 24, 25 and 26. This championship was noted for the extremely poor weather conditions and the consequential high scoring.
The course had been tightened a little but the winning score was twenty-two strokes worse than that achieved by Shaw sixteen years previously at the same venue. At the start of the final day, the amateur Glading led by two strokes from Shaw, with Fuller three further back.
In the afternoon the two professionals appeared less affected by the weather and the galleries, and Fuller came from behind to tie with Glading on 306. In the Sunday eighteen-hole playoff Glading with 38-35-73 took the title from Fuller, 37-38-75, and with it both the Bledisloe and Jellicoe trophies.
1947 New Zealand Open: The New Plymouth Golf Club hosted this event at their Ngamotu course on November 6, 7 and 8 and provided conditions suitable for fine scoring with very firm and well-grassed greens. Weather conditions were excellent except for a brief shower on the second day.
The titleholder, Glading led by two strokes going into the final round after Murray, who had been a previous winner in 1935, shot a brilliant three-under-par 70 in his third round. A visiting team of Australian amateurs were impressed with the play of the champion, and of their number, only Brown, along with locals Shaw and Silk provided some quite excellent play, but too late to affect the outcome.
At the Australian Open at Kingston Heath in 1948, Glading finished tied for eighth with Kel Nagle. In 1949, Glading won the New Zealand PGA Championship at Hastings, defeating 1948 New Zealand Open champion Jim Galloway, 2 up. Glading went to England in 1951 to follow a flying career. He entered The Open Championship in 1952, but was posted to HMS Indomitable and was unable to compete.
Partnered with D.L. Woon, Glading won the 1955 New Zealand amateur foursomes championship. Glading and his family moved to South Africa in the early 1960s after he was offered a job while playing in the Commonwealth Tournament there in 1959. They later returned to New Zealand. In 1999 Glading made his only hole-in-one, on the eighth hole at Muriwai. In the 2007 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to golf.
As well as being a caddy, player and club maker, Glading wrote a column for golf magazine The Cut, did television commentary work and served on the board of The First Tee of New Zealand, a golfing charity.
Glading died at his home in the Auckland suburb of Northcross in 2014. At the time of his death, he was the oldest surviving New Zealand Open champion.