A vandal attack on the tiny country golf course at Dunedoo in regional New South Wales has left the club’s members and the town utterly devastated.
Members arrived at the course last Wednesday morning to a scene reminiscent of a battleground, with about half of the club’s nine fairways and sand greens completely ploughed up.
Dunedoo Golf Club’s general manager, Ricky Bush, said the damage had left the members and the village’s community reeling.
“People were just staring at the mess and starting to cry. They couldn’t believe it.”
Bush said the blow was savage, especially after what the community had endured with COVID over the past 12 months.
“People were just staring at the mess and starting to cry. They couldn’t believe it.” - Ricky Bush, Dunedoo Golf Club General Manager.
“The club is a community asset, a vital part of the town.
“We were the only sport in town which had kept going through the pandemic.
“We were only talking at our Annual General Meeting the other night about what we had achieved last year even with the pandemic, and now we have copped this.”
Estimates of the damage put the course out of action for at least four months, with the financial cost still to be determined. The community, however, is very tight-knit, and Bush said the club had already received several offers of help from locals.
“We have had offers of machinery to help fix it, even from folk in the town who don’t play golf, but it’s going to take a lot of work to repair.
“I think this is an indication of how important our club is to the local community.”
“Our members usually play their weekly comp on Sunday, but for the next few months it looks like it will be working bees, not golf.”
Support for Dunedoo has since flowed in from across the globe as the Club rebuilds its severely damaged course following last week’s vandal attack.
The Club, which held a sand greens pro-am for a few of the Ladies European Tour (LET) stars before last year’s Women’s NSW Open (WNSWO) in Dubbo, woke to support online from two-time Champion, Meghan Maclaren.
“When I saw the news, it hit me hard. I think over the past year, we have come to appreciate golf so much more.
“To see somewhere like that have their course taken away, I just felt it. You can imagine what it would be like for any of us at home.” Maclaren tweeted.
The English star doubled down on her words and was also one of the first to kick into the Club’s GoFundMe campaign. She was soon joined by several other LET players, including Lydia Hall, Amy Walsh and Michelle Thompson.
The GoFundMe campaign is still underway, and to date, pledges have reached over $7000.
Sydney 2GB Radio morning show host Ray Hadley also came to the rescue as news of the damage broke, using his vast radio network and extensive contacts to make a call out for support for the Club.
Commitments from several organisations soon flowed with support on the ground at Dunedoo by Friday.
The goodwill hasn’t stopped over the weekend either, with the Club’s General Manager Ricky Bush saying the phone has been ringing off the hook.
“It’s been all positive so far,” Bush said. “We have had a lot of offers from assistance from local, interstate and overseas.”
“It’s really surprising how far the word has spread. One of the locals had a call from family in the UK saying Dunedoo had made the BBC TV news.”
“Everyone has been offering a helping hand. It’s hard to say yes to all of them,we still don’t even know how much it will cost or how long it’s going to take to repair it all.”
With some of the course still playable, the Club managed to cobble together a course of sorts, with the remaining three undamaged holes and greens ‘Macgyvered’ into a workable layout.
Remarkably, the town’s golfers onto the course as per usual yesterday for their regular weekly comp.
“Somehow, we came up with six holes and played them three times.
“21 golfers ended up playing which is pretty good really. We are a small place, and we need to have people out playing to keep the Club ticking over, to survive,” Bush added.