17 Jun 2024 | Outback Queensland Masters | Participation | Clubs and Facilities |

Outback golfers chasing birdies - and crows - at Birdsville Dunes

by Contributor

Birdsville Dunes Golf Club

Birdies for golfing nomads were challenged by crows at the Birdsville Dunes Golf Club over the weekend during the official start of Australia’s most remote golf series, the Outback Queensland Masters, on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

More than 980 golfing enthusiasts, some travelling from as far as Tasmania and Western Australia, are joining the 1600km outback golf journey now following onto Boulia, Winton, Barcaldine, Charleville and culminating in Quilpie with a Million-Dollar Hole-In-One challenge in July.

Winners of the event’s coveted orange jacket in Birdsville were Wendy Bodkin of the Quilpie Golf Club in the women’s and Garry Meek of the North Rockhampton Golf Club in the men's, both with 42 points.

“This is a very remote course, throwing up a lot of challenges,” explained Stephan Pursell, Birdsville Dunes Golf Club's vice-president.

“It’s not only the style of the course, the sand greens and desert fairways, but the local wildlife.

"This weekend crows were out in numbers and must have known the Outback Masters was on.

“The crows for some reason love golf balls. We’ve tried all different things to stop them including different coloured balls to stop them coming in and taking them.

"One player reported they had lost over 20 balls in one afternoon alone.

“We don’t know where they take them, but there’s sure a lot of them somewhere."

Diamantina Shire Council Mayor Francis Murray said The Masters has become an iconic Australian bucket-list event, introducing a new cohort of visitors to their part of the world.

“Who wouldn’t want to play golf on rolling red dunes under big blue skies with the added challenge of beating the crows to the ball?” he said.

Golf Australia General Manager - Events Therese Magdulski said: “Amateur golfers are willing to go the extra mile, not only to play for Australia’s largest amateur golfing prize pool but to experience Queensland’s most western frontier.

“This event showcases how different the game of golf can be. The sand green courses of Outback Queensland provide a unique experience and challenge for players of all levels and ages.

“It’s all about having fun on and off the golf course. It’s about the Outback experience, discovering new places and meeting new people, and we can’t wait to share that with those joining over the coming weeks of the competition.

“We started the weekend with a friendly warm-up before the official tee off for golfers and the community to have a crack at our Big Red Hole-In-One Challenge, teeing off from the top of the iconic 40-meter-high Big Red Sand Dune, to support the Birdsville Dunes Golf Club.”

As a community give-back and to provide opportunities for young people in Outback Queensland, free junior golf clinics with PGA Professional Darren Weatherall are being staged at all six locations of the Outback Queensland Masters.

Birdsville Mayor Francis Murray added: “When I was growing up in Birdsville the most popular sport was tennis because you only needed two people to play.

“Any sport that can be played at the drop of the hat with just two people is the kind of sport we need out here.

"We are lucky that our dedicated and passionate locals did the work to bring golf to the Diamantina Shire, with the Outback Queensland Masters in Birdsville bringing a new level of engagement, motivating locals to get involved and kids to learn new skills with the free junior clinics."

“The Outback Queensland Masters' legacy is to give youth in Outback Queensland an opportunity to either try golf for the first time or fine-tune their skills,” explained Darren Weatherall.

“We had some juniors make a 400km roundtrip to Birdsville this weekend to join in. It’s so encouraging to see the next generation interested in the game and giving it a go in these small bush communities. Who knows, we may even see one of them represent Australia one day.”

The Outback Queensland Masters is presented by Golf Australia in conjunction with strategic partner Tourism and Events Queensland and Birdie Spirit Partners PGA of Australia, Rex Airlines and BCL Production Services.

Local government partners: Diamantina Shire Council, Boulia Shire Council, Winton Shire Council, Barcaldine Regional Council, Murweh Shire Council and Quilpie Shire Council.

Mateship Partners: Bushnell Golf, Drummond Golf, Callaway, IJS Productions and Your Mates Brewing Co.

The 2024 Outback Queensland Masters is taking place until July 21; limited player and spectator passes remaining at www.outbackqldmasters.com!

Outback Queensland Masters is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland.

Outback Qld Masters at Birdsville

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