Cheyenne Woods and Adele Douglas during the Wednesday practice round. Credit: Tristan Jones

It’s a story that reads like a Hollywood fairy tale. Adele Douglas, who was a real estate agent with no golfing experience five years ago, will tee up in the AgtewAGL Canberra Classic on Friday.

She had her first golf lesson in 2013 and reached a scratch handicap in three years. This week, she was playing a practice round with last week’s Oates Vic Open winner Minjee Lee, Cheyenne Woods and the 2019 European Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew, following a practice round with the European number one Georgia Hall on Tuesday.

This is also a love story. Adele was encouraged to pursue her golfing dreams by Daniel Dosen, a teaching professional at Royal Canberra Golf Club. They met at a public facility in Canberra after Adele won a club membership at a charity event. As their friendship grew, he told her that he would marry her if she lowered her handicap to scratch.

Adele, who was aged 36 at the time, explained: “I was at a corporate golf day and at the end of the day they were auctioning off memberships to all of the clubs around Canberra and one of my colleagues encouraged me to put a bid in, so I picked one up for a couple of hundred dollars. I went to the club and for the first couple of months I walked around by myself, hitting balls. Daniel and I became good friends and he encouraged me to get my handicap down and to practice and start playing in some competitions. He helped me heaps with my game and I think maybe four or five years ago I thought, I’d like to see how far it can take me and made some changes in my life. I changed jobs and practised more and played more – and I wanted to get married so I had to get to scratch!”

Daniel explained: “I started telling the members here that when she gets down to a scratch handicap we’re going to get married, kind of as a joke. All our members started asking what her handicap was. She said, ‘What are you going to do when I get down to scratch?’ I said we’ll tell them it was a joke. She seemed disappointed when I said it was only a joke, so we’re going to get married this year.”

Adele’s goals were always very clear, and Daniel explained: “The whole thing was, that after six months into golf, she wanted to play in an event like this: that was the goal. As the club gets two invites this week, she was given one due to popular demand.

“At the ladies’ clinics here, when they meet Adele and she tells them that she started golf at 36, they get huge inspiration out of seeing how well she’s done, being a mother and having a career and showing that you can still do sport.”

Adele continued: “It is hard work, but I don’t think that’s a secret. You have to commit the time and the effort. It’s not just the physical side, it’s the mental challenges as well. There are heaps of ups and downs. One minute you’re playing well and the next minute your game is a bit off and you think it’s the end of the world. Daniel just keeps me motivated. He helped me to believe that I could do it and said, even if you don’t make it, it’s still an awesome effort.

“When I was told that I had been given a spot here, I couldn’t believe it. It means so much to me because for the last four and a half to five years, I’ve been watching all of these women on TV. I watched Minjee five years ago when she was playing in the Interstate Series and she gave me a signed golf ball. It was at that time I was thinking about taking golf further. I watched her play and got really motivated by her and I got to have a hit with her today, so it’s almost like my dream has come true.

“This is one of my goals. My ultimate goal is to turn professional. I would love to be able to play as a professional but if not, Daniel and I will travel the world and hopefully run a golf shop together and coach women beginners and juniors. It’s the beginning of the next chapter of my life and I think it would be a massive achievement to turn professional at such a late stage in my life.”

Adele’s story is proof that, with a little encouragement, hard-work and belief, anything is possible, especially when you add in a marriage proposal! We will watch her progress with interest this week.

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