Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Help in Harshest Conditions; Outback Tourgives Countrybattlers a Lift

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Help in Harshest Conditions; Outback Tourgives Countrybattlers a Lift

Article excerpt

Byline: David Lems david.lems@qt.com.au

GOLF: It's so dry, golfers have to use a screwdriver to make a hole for their tees. The land is so unforgiving, sump oil and sand is mixed together to create a "green''.

For head Brookwater Golf and Country Club professional John Collins and his PGA trainee Chris Crooks it was an enriching experience helping those affected by drought.

After sharing their golfing knowledge on a 3500km, nine-day Western Queensland trip, they would do it all again.

"Absolutely,'' Collins said, hoping to return after putting a smile on the faces of outback people doing it tough.

"It would be nice to make it an annual thing. They are great people out there.''

After loaning a ute courtesy of Bartons Holden at Capalaba, they packed up their golf gear and ventured to some of the harshest countryside in Queensland.

Collins and Crooks ran free clinics and offered golf lessons at St George, Blackall, Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Tambo, Charleville and Roma.

As well as helping some keen golfers, Collins said it was a platform to help the people "take their mind off what many can only imagine as a stressful period''.

Having grown up around beef cattle at Warwick, Collins took the initiative after seeing the recent Drought Relief Appeal on Channel Nine.

"My mum and dad used to have a farm as well so that was part of the reason why I wanted to give back,'' Collins said.

"I was finally in a position that I can actually give some-thing back to people that they can take some benefit from.''

Being the Brookwater professional for five years, Collins organised a tour schedule with Crooks covering outback country clubs. Winton was the furtherest destination from Ipswich.

Collins and Crooks quickly discovered the harsh conditions people are enduring.

"For both of us, it was the first time we'd been out to any of those courses before so it was a bit of an eye-opener,'' Collins said. …

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