Middlemount Golf Club president Jamie Sullivan is as proud as punch to be named Golf Queensland’s Volunteer of the Year, but extremely embarrassed at what he calls the ‘unnecessary fuss’.
“What I do out here is pretty normal in a country community,” said 32-year-old Jamie who has lived and worked in the Central Queensland mining town for almost two decades.
“We have been through some tough times of late with drought, cyclones and two years of industrial unrest in the mines. Most people who live here have a passion for their town, and everyone usually pitches in when help is needed. Plenty who aren’t even golfers help out at our club when needed.”
But most in Middlemount – especially those who have made the ‘fuss’ over Jamie’s award – see the coal mine electrician and father of two pre-school boys as some kind of a superman. He is credited with converting a very average golfing facility into the social hub of the community.
Not only has he been able to secure grants for a course irrigation system and a new mower as well as instigate a very successful junior coaching program, but Jamie brokered funding for the club’s new $2 million clubhouse which was officially opened on March 13 this year.
“What Jamie has achieved is unbelievable,” penned club treasurer Herman Janse van Rensburg in the submission to Golf Queensland supporting Jamie’s nomination.
“He is an inspiration to a community about which he cares, and he is passionate about making Middlemount a more liveable place for all residents, many of whom have young families and desire a family-friendly venue. His community focus is at the forefront of everything he does.
“Our committee estimates that in the four years Jamie has been president of the golf club he has spent hundreds of hours working on various projects and sent many thousands of emails. And that doesn’t count the times he works behind the bar.”
Although deflecting much of this acclamation, Jamie concedes he is absolutely delighted with the recent progress made by the club that boasts 1000 social members, 71 juniors but only 60 adult playing members.
The major accomplishment, he says, is the building of the fully-funded clubhouse which consists primarily of 16 shipping containers, and which was completed in less than five months.
Local company Middlemount South Mine contributed $2million towards the project, with support also from Anglo American and a number of other local companies who sponsored both financially and in-kind. As well, 80 per cent of the work was carried out by local contractors with others employed from nearby Rockhampton and Mackay.
Another massive feather in Jamie’s cap is the success of last year’s Middlemount Pro-Am, which the previous year had run at a loss. He secured Middlemount South Mine as naming-rights sponsor for three years and successfully negotiated with other sponsors for former NRL stars Darren Lockyer, PJ Marsh and Scott Prince as well as ex-Wallaby skipper Nick Farr-Jones to attend.
This year’s event will be held on May 26 and 27, and already a number of top professionals, including Adam Blyth and Terry Price, have entered for a shot at the $27,500 purse.
And in his negotiations with the sponsors last year, Jamie arranged for a junior rugby league clinic with Lockyer, Marsh and Prince, to be conducted for the local kids.
Despite all this community work, Jamie also manages to play golf – the game he has enjoyed since he was a kid. His current handicap is nine and he has won the Middlemount club championship four times, the most recent two years ago.
Golf Queensland’s Club Support manager, David Webber, said that while Jamie’s submission was outstanding, he had beaten a very special field of volunteer candidates.
“The quality of the nominations was very high, and in past years each of them could have won,” he said.
(Story by Tony Durkin)