07 Feb 2023 | Vic Open | Feature stories |
Lance’s day of surprises at 13th Beach
by Dane Heverin
Lance Collins was unaware that he was heading to 13th Beach when he woke up on Tuesday morning, let alone that he would be on the golf course with Australian golfing icons Brett Rumford and Karrie Webb ahead of the Vic Open.
Lance is currently fighting motor neurone disease (MND) - a condition that gradually damages the nervous system which has become more visible publicly through AFL legend Neale Daniher’s fundraising efforts – and wished to spend a day with a tour professional.
Golf has been a big part of the Bellarine Peninsula resident’s life. He played as part of a social club at Yarra Bend Golf Course in Melbourne for more than 20 years where he served as captain and president.
So, when his good friend Brian came over and said they were going down to 13th Beach and he was shouting coffee, Lance replied “great, I love going there”.
When they arrived at the clubhouse, Lance was delighted to see more of his friends waiting for him, but he thought that was where the surprises would end.
“I wasn’t expecting anything else, and they said ‘you’re going around with Brett Rumford and Karrie Webb today’. I let a bit of a tear out,” he said.
“Brett came out, what a wonderful person. He’s not there for himself, he’s there for other people. He was as natural as you like, and I thought ‘how good is this’.
“I couldn’t believe what I was going through.”
Lance was amazed to see up close how Rumford and Webb hit the ball and thought through every shot during their practice round.
A few holes in, he even tried his hand at caddying.
“It was 184 out and I said, ‘I don’t know how you play but I’d probably play a 5-iron downwind’,” Lance said.
“Brett said, ‘not bad at all’ and he a chose a 6-iron. He was pretty impressed.”
The surprises also kept coming after that.
“We were talking about where I used to play at Yarra Bend. Bill Cuthbert was my professional at that stage and one of the caddies who was walking around with us and said ‘I know Bill. He taught me in 1974’,” Lance said.
“He went away and called Bill. He came back and said ‘Bill’s on the phone’. I could not believe it. Here we are 30, 40 years later talking like best mates.”
Lance did eventually get a coffee and lunch with his friends, and his day was a perfect example of what his time in golf has been all about.
“Golf is about people. The highlights of my day, apart from trying to play good golf – I occasionally had good rounds – was looking after all those people in the social club. Making sure that they had a good day,” Lance said.
“Your golf is good some days and not so good the other days, but it’s all about the people. The 19th hole was terrific. Always a very good hole to enjoy and I made lots of lifelong friends.
“I’ve had a great day. Totally unexpected in many ways.”
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