Patsy Barry’s 20 years of dedication to developing junior golf in Tenterfield was recognised with an award following the Tenterfield Bowling Club’s recent AGM, marking the first award of its kind presented by the club.
The club’s junior golf program was already established when Mrs Barry became involved back in 1998, with Frances Keatinge and others coordinating efforts to develop upcoming golfers.
Mrs Barry said she well remembers the little red tin into which the kids would throw $2 a lesson, which all went to buying small trophies to reward those who excelled.
“It all just evolved from that,” she said.
Now she and her small team run two major events each year: the Junior Classic in October and the 54-hole Open Tournament in January.
Families will be descending on the Golf Club from near and far for the tournament in a few weeks, one known for driving all night from Coonabarabran to make the event and more coming from Brisbane and beyond.
It and each event is a huge organisational undertaking, but Mrs Barry said she’s had the backing of husband Peter every inch of the way.
“He’s been so active, doing all the side jobs that no-one sees,” she said.
There’s always a contingent of local players participating in the events, but Mrs Barry said they’re in a bit of a trough at the moment as older players have graduated and moved on, and new ones are just coming on.
She has succeeded in getting local schools involved in giving their students a taste of the sport with a number of sessions throughout the term. A recent Friday afternoon saw 62 students on the receiving end of advice from legendary coach Charlie Earp.
Mrs Barry said she’d like to think she’ll get another 20 junior players from her efforts to get the sport into schools, but for her the ultimate reward is seeing the children’s faces light up as their skill levels develop.
She said the club award came as a complete shock.
“People said they expected me to cry, but I was too shocked.”
She felt somewhat embarrassed by the acknowledgement, saying it certainly wasn’t the inducement for doing what she does.
“You do it because you want to do it, to keep them off the street.”