Love leads Doug and Debra to Noosa

Doug and Debra Oates on the fairways at Noosa Springs.

By Peter Owen

When Hong Kong-based IT executive Doug Oates met Debra Gudmanz in London a few years ago the last thing on either of their minds was playing golf in Noosa.

But the path of true love has many twists and turns, and this one led all the way to the scenic fairways of Noosa Springs golf course.

Doug had been living and working in Hong Kong for years when, on a holiday to London, his sister-in-law introduced him to Debra. There was an instant attraction between the two divorcees, and there began a long-distance romance.

When Doug, 68, retired he and Debra had a choice to make – would they spend their life together in London, or at Noosa, where Doug owned a holiday home.

“It wasn’t much of a decision at all, really,” said Doug.

The couple relocated to Noosa, married there in 2016, joined Noosa Springs and settled into a life that included tennis, surfing and regularly playing golf together.

Their golfing exploits reached a new level last week when Doug and Debra won competitions at Noosa Springs on successive days.

Doug scored 37 points to win the men’s stableford competition on Tuesday, while Debra scored the same number of points to win Wednesday’s women’s competition.

They put their great play down to a golfing holiday at the Gold Coast the previous week, where they played with friends for five straight days.

“We usually go down to Melbourne to play golf at this time of the year, but with COVID we decided to visit the Gold Coast this year,” Doug said.

Something obviously clicked for the couple. “It was amazing that we both were able to score wins in the same week,” said Debra, who took up golf less than five years ago.

Since then she’s cut her handicap from 45 to 25 and plays two or three times a week.

“I’m hooked,” she said. “I love the fact Doug and I can play together and that you’re always made to feel welcome.”

“I think it was a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’,” said Doug, whose golfing career spans 40 years.

He played regularly in Hong Kong, often at the spectacular three-course Kau Sai Chau golfing complex, built 25 years ago by the Hong Kong Jockey Club on an island off Sai Kun in the New Territories.

His handicap is now 15 and, like every golfer, he says he’s still working hard to improve his game.

Egea shows his skills

Former Noosa professional Andrew Egea made a rare return to competitive golf when he shot one-under-par 68 to tie for first in the Wolston Park Open Match event last week.

Egea, who took up the role as head pro of Wolston Park after relocating from Noosa, shared the win with rookie Ayoung Yu.

Though it was a low key event it was welcome competition for professional golfers starved of opportunities because of COVID-19, and showed the popular pro’s game is in good shape.

Egea’s son Jesse is a trainee pro at Brookwater, while younger son Taj is a regular contender in junior events throughout southeast Queensland.

Patrick on his Sunday best

Patrick Martin won the latest round of Noosa Springs Sunday Series with a solid 35 stableford points last weekend. He’s now in the running to win a Noosa Springs holiday at the end of the year, including accommodation and free golf.

The Universal Property-sponsored Sunday series is a weekly competition which rewards the man and woman who return the best stableford score each month. Those monthly winners compete in December for the major prize.

The series is open to Noosa Springs members and visitors. Golfers who live on the Sunshine Coast or Gympie qualify for a reduced green fee of $79, which includes a motorised cart.

Check out Marc’s team

Former pro Marc Bright is the dynamo that drives Cooroy Golf Club’s All Abilities golf programme.

Each week he works with disabled golfers to teach them the finer points of the game. As they learn to chip and putt, Marc’s students develop self-confidence, social skills and the knowledge that anything is possible.

On Monday (March 1), Marc and his team will host an open day at Cooroy, encouraging would-be golfers to come and try, and perhaps join his group. There’ll be a barbecue, and everybody is welcome. Give Marc a call on 0402 447 317.

Junior matches cancelled

Golf Australia has cancelled the 2021 Australian Junior Interstate Teams Matches and the Australian Interstate Teams Matches because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Golf Australia’s high performance general manager Brad James said: “A series of legal and welfare risks would have emerged had Golf Australia and team managers been required to assume responsibility for minors for extended periods of time in the event of snap closures of state borders.”

Big collect for Cam Smith

Adam Scott, who has close connections with Noosa, saved his best for last in his defence of the Genesis Invitational golf championship in Los Angeles this week.

Scott, who calls Sunshine Beach home, shot a final round 66 for an even par 72-hole total of 284. That, however, was good enough for only 38th in the elite field of professionals who teed it up in the PGA Tour event.

Another Queenslander, Cameron Smith, who honed his game on the Sunshine Coast Invincibles Tour, finished fourth at nine-under-par, after a closing round of 67. He collected US$455,000 for his efforts

American Max Homa won the title after a playoff with Tony Finau, who has now had 21 top five finishes since his first, and only, win on tour.

Club competitions

NOOSA

Tuesday, 16 February

Men’s stableford: A grade – Cooper Clarke 41, Shane Healey 38, Peter Fryer 37c/b, Shaun Taylor 37c/b; B grade – Dave Whitehead 37, James McKean 36c/b, John Henry 36, David Draper 35; C grade – Kevin Richter 37, Craig Beckey 36, Bob Hobart 35, Daryl Bates 34c/b.

Wednesday, 17 February

Vets 4-person Ambrose: Rodney Gillard, Jorma Rusanen, Geoff Foster & Peter Bayliss 59.25; Scott Hobden, Ron Read, Michael Tsolakkis & Peter Blair 59.25; Stephen McCaul, John Wex, Dave Stewart & Rob Rossow 59.75.

Thursday, 18 February

Women’s stableford: A grade – Heather Alsop 35c/b, Sue McLaurin 35, Gayna Ryan 34; B grade – Evelyn Allan 37, Trish Strang 35, Gwendoline Whitehead 34; C grade – Janice Abey 38, Melanie Venning 35, Donna Coey 34.

Saturday, 20 February

Men’s stableford: A grade – Grant Baker 39c/b, Michael Munt 39c/b, Neville Hazlett 39; B grade – Graeme Caffyn 40, John Kenyon 39c/b, Steven Boulton 39c/b; C grade – Jim Crawford 39, Lee Clayton 38c/b, Stephen Curry 38c/b. Women’s stableford: Paula Jeffrey 33, Lani McDowall 32c/b, Bettina Hammant 32.

NOOSA SPRINGS

Tuesday, 16 February

Men’s stableford: Douglas Oates 37c/b, Alexander Hackett 37, Craig Willian 36c/b; women’s stableford: Jill Larcombe 36, Mary-Jane Clemens 33, Persephone Lobb 30.

Wednesday, 17 February

Men’s stableford: Simon Hennessy 37c/b, Gil Hoskins 37c/b, John Glennon 37; women’s stableford: Debra Oates 37, Niki Matthews 32, Elizabeth Browne 30c/b.

Saturday, 20 February

Men’s stableford: Ben Kearney 45, Paul Matthews 41c/b, Joost Wamsteeker 41; wolmen’s stableford: Annette Philp 41, Tereza Holley 36c/b, Carole Blonk 36.

Sunday, 21 February

Men’s Universal Property Sunday Series: Patrick Martin 35, Phil Harrison 34c/b, Mike Foskett 34c’b; women: Kaye Bollen 33, Sandi Hoskins 28.

COOROY

Tuesday, 16 February

Women’s stableford Secret 5: Julie Collis 12, Toni Mason 11.

Wednesday, 17 February

Vets stableford: A grade – Brian Clemow 40, Peter Brown 37, Kerry Davies 36; B grade – Terry Wilson 40, Scott Bennett 39, Neil Dwyer 38; C grade – Kevin Pickford 37, Hans Herrie 36, Kevin Crundall 35.

Thursday, 18 February

Women’s par: Shay Zulpo sq, Margie Lucas -1c/b, Kim Gladman -1c/b.

Saturday, 20 February

Men’s par: Div 1 – K. Hamilton +4, C. Trist +2; Div 2 – D. Clayton +5, G. Hall +3; Div 3 – C. Black +2c/b, T. Foster +2. Women’s par: Danica Whish +3, Janelle Thorburn +2.

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