As you drive into Dunedoo, a tiny town west of Sydney with a population of about 800, the sign says: ‘Where the people make the difference’.
And that was tested to the utmost when their golf course was ploughed up by a vandal on a tractor one night recently, destroying the nine-hole golf course.
Enter Graeme Colless and his turf supply company, who supplied at least 32,000 rolls so they could re-lay their fairways.
And volunteers came from far and wide, including course superintendents from some of the state’s most prestigious courses.
Royal Melbourne even wanted to send some helpers before COVID-19 hit town and stopped them making the trip.
But with between 150 and 180 helpers over three days they might have been lost in the crowd anyway.
Dunedoo Sports Club president Mark Gallagher was overcome with emotion as he witnessed the volunteers giving them an almost brand-new golf course.
“There’s nothing funnier than a big country bloke on the blab,” laughed former Castle Hill super Martyn Black, who led a small army of supers from Sydney to help lay the new course turf.
Among those were NSW super Mark Parker and Roseville super Mark O’Sullivan, who, along with Black gave Dunedoo more than 170 years’ experience in the golf course game.
“We put down 24,000 square metres in 52 hours, including a lunch break,” said Black.
“It was quite extraordinary, we laid out an entire par-five in an hour and a half and really broke the back of it on that first day as we knew the following day was going to be bitterly cold … and it was.”
Naturally there were some fun and games that night as they settled down to watch the State of Origin rugby league. Blue wigs were produced and, a few beers later, the country boys were giving sheep shearing displays – using a couple of bar stools as sheep.
Three different couch grasses were laid and as one super pointed out: “Dunedoo now has Rolls Royce approaches to their sand greens.”
Dunedoo Golf Club CEO Ricky Bush says the whole town was overwhelmed by the support they received to overcome this crisis.
“About 90 turned up on that first day,” said Bush.
“We just couldn’t believe that not only locals but others who made the trip to be part of it.
“We didn’t know who they were or their backgrounds – they just wanted to come and be part of it.
“What we have now will put us in good stead for a long time to come. We’ve certainly made the best of a bad situation.
“ABC news did a report on it and our president did get a bit emotional.
“We’ve had others sign up as social members or make donations or help through the Gofund me page.
“One guy even paid a golf membership, even though he lived in Queensland.
“Many locals, not even golfers or members, offered equipment to help where they could.
“I don’t think anyone knew what to expect and it blew us all away.
“Now we can water all this turf, look after it and, hopefully, go back to living normal lives now.”