The 2023 Outback Queensland Masters officially teed off this weekend with players from across Australia converging on the Southern Outback Queensland town of St George for a golfing tournament of a different kind.
“Winners of the coveted orange jacket were Women’s Kayleen Hall of the Roma Golf Club with 42 points and Men’s Ross Jackson of the Canungra Area Golf Club, who coincidently was playing for the first time on sand greens, won with 39 points,” said Luke Bates, Queensland and Northern Territory Manager, Golf Australia.
“This is Australia’s most remote golf tournament,” explains Luke. “It’s been a weekend of firsts, being the first time the event has been staged in St George, our longest adventure of 2,800 kilometres through Outback Queensland and the first time we’ve had competitors from every state of Australia, including Western Australia.
“Many of the players are vying for the Million Dollar Hole-In-One Challenge at the end of this six-location event which commenced from St George before we head onto Cunnamulla, Quilpie, Richmond, Karumba and culminating in Mount Isa in July.
“This competition isn’t all about winning a hole-in-one, it’s all about the experience, discovering new places and meeting new people.
“This event showcases how different the game of golf can be. The sand green courses of Outback Queensland provide a unique experience for players of all levels and ages, with the overall objective to have a lot of fun.
The Outback Queensland Masters is fast becoming an iconic Australian bucket list destination golf event, recently recognised nationally taking out gold at the 2022 Australian Tourism Awards and gold for the Best Grey Nomad Event 2022.
Since its inception in 2019, the Outback Queensland Masters has generated millions of dollars in visitor spend for the remote communities of Outback Queensland, and in 2022 generated 13,062 visitor nights and contributed $1.89M to the Queensland economy.
“I’m so excited to meet visitors from every state of Australia, some travelling from as far as Western Australia to compete. This event really helps spread visitor spend through to the far reaches of this great and vast region, with the majority competing over the full six-locations,” said Samantha O’Toole, Mayor, Balonne Shire Council.
“The Outback Queensland Masters really highlights the character and friendliness of this part of the world to players too. We’ve welcomed players and spectators to the St George Region, encouraging them to ‘get hooked’ with special pre and post experiences, from wine and cotton tours to indigenous experiences, iconic Australian pubs, and of course the inland fishing we’re famous for,” said Samantha O’Toole with her welcoming smile.
Local St George golfing enthusiasts aged from five to fourteen years participated in the free Junior Clinics Program with PGA professional Darren Weatherall, from Brisbane.
“The Outback Queensland Masters legacy is to give youth in Outback Queensland an opportunity to either try golf for the first time or fine-tune their skills,” explained Darren Weatherall, PGA Pro on tour.
“It’s so encouraging to see such young people giving it a go. Some of the juniors this morning were priceless, with the clubs twice their size.
“Here in St George and throughout the next five locations, we’re touring with the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship Trophy, the Kirkwood Cup.
“The Cup, named after Joe Kirkwood, really put Australian golf on the map, credited with scoring twenty-nine hole-in-ones and numerous national and international tournaments across the United States of America, Canada, and the Australian and New Zealand Opens.
Darren further explains, “What’s fascinating, as the story goes, when Joe Kirkwood was a youngster, he went to work on an outback station where his boss introduced him to the game of golf. From these humble beginnings, he turned professional in 1920.”
Luke Bates added, “The event is presented by Golf Australia, and we would especially like to thank our strategic partner Tourism and Events Queensland and Birdie Spirit Partners PGA of Australia, Rex Airlines and BCL Production Services.
“Support from the local golf clubs and their members who so eagerly embraced the masters has been integral to this success. The St George Golf Club has been outstanding in its participation and support for the Outback Queensland Masters.
“The event could not have been staged without assistance from local government, including the Balonne Shire Council, Paroo Shire Council, Quilpie Shire Council, Richmond Shire Council, Carpentaria Shire Council and Mount Isa City Council,” Luke Bates said.
Competitor, Jenny Schaeffer from Western Australia perfectly summarises the experience, “This country is so beautiful, we’ve made a journey of it, travelling some 25,000 kilometres to get here. We’ve never played Outback Queensland golf courses before, I think the main thing is to enjoy yourself and laugh as loud as you can.”
The 2023 Outback Queensland Masters is taking place from 17 June – 23 July 2023; limited player and spectator passes remain at www.outbackqldmasters.com!
Outback Queensland Masters is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland.
IMAGES – ST GEORGE 2023
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Video News Release available on request.
Queensland and Northern Territory Manager, Golf Australia
M 0439 780 677
Cr Samantha O’Toole
Mayor, Balonne Shire Council
Contact Josh Euler, Balonne Shire Council Corporate Communications Manager
M 0423 786 672