Kerry Packer’s famous temper got a big airing when he unsuccessfully asked for a burger at The Australian golf club a couple of years back. Now he’s got two private courses so he doesn’t have to suffer anyone when chases the little white ball around.
To start with, it goes back to his surrendering to old age and accepting that his polo days are over.
“I can’t ride the f—– horses any more so I’ve taken up golf again – we’re playing Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” the big man told a close mate of his last year.
But with golf his new passion, KP was unable to tolerate the niceties of playing at a club with other members. His former club was The Australian in Sydney but he chucked such a ridiculous – and thus far unreported – tantrum in the club house back in 1998 that he is rarely seen there these days.
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Big Kezza had finished his round and being a junk-food addict, he wanted to eat a burger in the locker room which is set up with card tables, a bar and some limited nibblies.
The waiter politely told KP he could not have a burger in the locker room and Kezza chucked a wobbly, abusing the waiter so much that eventually the manager was called in.
Kezza continued to shoot his foul mouth off as he stood toe to toe with the manager, who stood his ground and told KP not to treat his staff so abhorrently.
The Big Man is not known to have gone back to The Australian since. These days he just hops in the Falcon 25 and flies down to stay at the world’s biggest casino in Melbourne which he now controls.
When Packer’s flagship company PBL bought Crown in 1999, it did not get the luxurious $55 million Capital Golf course directly because this was retained by Lloyd Williams when Hudson Conway was privatised.
However, Crown bought a sole corporate membership of Victoria’s most expensive golf course for about $35 million last year. It was presumably structured like this for tax reasons as Kezza is not a big payer.
But if KP was to truly stick it up The Australian – he needed a course he could call his own near the Packer compound in Bellview Hill. This is why he is now building a course on his massive Hunter Valley property – just a short chopper ride away.
Whilst The Australian had built a special car park for him, Packer used to hate slow-playing women holding him up. You see the big man is pretty handy with a golf club – in part because he’s got some legendary golfing mates who’ve given him the best of advice over the years.
Jack Nicklaus told Stephen Dabkowski from The Sunday Age about four years back that whenever he has a problem in Australia he simply rings Packer and the problem gets fixed.
Greg Norman is also a good mate and is doing golf course-residential developments with Macquarie Bank – the same Macquarie Bank that advised Big Kezza on how to buy Crown for just $1.8 billion.