A chance to combine two loves - family and croquet - enticed Gippsland-based Shane Downie to Warrnambool.
The Traralgon resident spent time with daughter Nicole and his grandchildren and collected a title at the Warrnambool City Croquet Club.
Downie, 66, earned the golf croquet division one singles crown on Friday after winning eight of his 10 matches across two days.
Portland's John Murfett, who won the previous two tournaments, was runner-up.
The mateship was one of the highlights for the visitor, who travelled five hours to compete.
"This tournament to me is unique. It is is probably the most inviting tournament I have played in," Downie said.
"They give you an opportunity to play with everybody.
"I am playing with people who are in a different section who are of a higher handicap.
"Then the last two days is singles and you play off for your own section."
Downie, whose handicap is minus one, took up croquet three years ago and quickly rose through the ranks, playing high-level tournaments.
"Generally it's an older community but when you're playing in the Australian Open and president's croquet; they are a lot younger and you're surprised at how many young people play this game," he said.
"They're very competitive and I still have a little bit of competitiveness in me but I also enjoy the camaraderie and at my age I don't need to prove anything to anybody."
The father-of-four and grandfather-of-seven is a former football umpire who officiated more than 900 games "all over Victoria".
His daughter Nicole is the Warrnambool District Football Umpires Association director of umpiring.
He attended three games - Warrnambool versus North Warrnambool Eagles, Panmure versus Merrivale and the night match between Camperdown and Cobden - last weekend, keeping a watchful eye on the officials, and spoke to the WDFUA group imparting his extensive experience on Thursday night.
Croquet provided Downie with a sporting option when he could no longer umpire.
He was introduced to the sport by his sister and hasn't looked back.
"I had a bit of a health issue. I used to do a fair bit of running and unfortunately my health condition doesn't allow me to run anymore," he said.
The golf croquet tournament, which consisted singles and doubles, attracted players from across the Western District as well as Ballarat, Sale and Geelong.
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