They’re not what you picture when you think of an Australian golf course.

Key points:

  • More than 200 golfers took part in the six-week Outback Queensland Masters tour
  • The tournament’s $1 million hole-in-one remains unwon
  • The 2022 finale will take place at the Birdsville Dunes Golf Club

Far from the rolling, lush greens and cool breezes of coastal courses, outback golf clubs can be harsh, sandy, and unpredictable.

But for more than 200 keen golfers, there is nowhere else they would have rather have spent the past six weeks.

The second Outback Queensland Masters golf competition wrapped up in Longreach at the weekend, after a sold-out tournament took players to Biloela, Charleville, Quilpie, Blackall, and Hughenden.

An aerial shot of a crowd sitting down watching a golf course.

A small crowd gathers to watch the $1 million hole-in-one competition in Longreach.(

Supplied: Outback Queensland Masters


Golf Australia’s Queensland manager Luke Bates described it as a “fabulous” event.

Laurie Binstead from the Hervey Bay Golf Club took out the male series championship, while Canberra-based Ann Backhouse from Murrumbidgee Country Club was crowned female series champion.

“It’s unexpected,” Backhouse, who only got her handicap a few months ago, said.

“But I have had a really good few games here. It’s been an awesome experience.”

A man holds up a flag that says

The Masters tour included many outback courses including Blackall.(

Supplied: Outback Queensland Masters


Not even a missed opportunity for a punter to win $1 million at the final hole-in-one competition could dampen spirits.

Mr Bates said for many players their nerves kicked in as they approached the final tee.

“Longreach served up a bit of a tough test — we had a strong southerly that was coming through,” Mr Bates said.

“They were nervous, but once they kind of hit their shot, you could just see how happy they were that they’d finished the Outback Queensland Masters.”

A man on a golf course crouches with his mouth open in suspense.

Suspense was high around the course at Hughenden.(

Supplied: Outback Queensland Masters


Young golfer shines 

Charters Towers player Dallas Douglas was the youngest player to try his luck at the $1 million hole-in-one.

“I’d be happy with it on a normal day, but I just got a bit nervous,” the 12-year-old said.

“My hands were shaking as I put the hands on the club.”

A young boy hits a golf ball on a dusty course.

Twelve-year-old Dallas Douglas first picked up a golf club when he was four.(

ABC Western Queensland: Ellie Grounds


His mum, Sam West, said it was one of the “biggest and best experiences” her son had ever had.

“I am just so proud of him that he had the confidence and the courage to get up and just give it his best crack of a shot,” Ms West said.

“He’s never played on sand greens before, so this was a real challenge, but they were kind to him.”

Indeed they were — Dallas Douglas won the closest to pin on Saturday’s seventh hole in Longreach.

Kids wearing colourful shirts watch on as a man in an orange shirt demonstrates how to swing a golf club.

Golf pro Darren Weatherall leads a kids’ clinic in Hughenden.(

Supplied: Outback Queensland Masters


It was a prize he could not collect in person on Sunday night, as he was already on the road home to be at school on Monday morning.

The youngster is determined to prove golf is not just for plaid-wearing retirees.

“People just think golf, it’s so boring, but once you start getting into it, it’s a lot more fun and entertaining instead of those other sports,” he said.

Two men hold up an orange novelty cheque on an outback red sand golf course. One holds up a golf ball.

David Pennell (left) won the $10,000 hole-in-one in Quilpie.(

Supplied: Outback Queensland Masters


Golf secondary to camaraderie

The event’s executive producer Theresa Famularo said the cornerstone of the Masters was the inevitability of forging lifelong friendships.

“We’ve got the most incredible group of people on this playing [tour], playing and spectating,” Ms Famularo said.

An aerial shot of a colourful crowd of people standing in an outback landscape as the sun sets.

Many players spoke about the “beautiful camaraderie” on display during this year’s tour.(

Supplied: Outback Queensland Masters


The gender breakdown of players this year was almost 50:50, and she hoped next year there would be more female players.

She said some of the wives who toured with their husbands have flagged they want to play next year.

“We’ve even got a couple of brave husbands who are spectating while their wives play, which is a nice twist on the standard norms of society, so that’s been really cool,” she said.

Birdsville to host $1m hole-in-one

Next year’s Outback Queensland Masters will tour Roma, Tambo, Barcaldine, Winton and Mount Isa, before culminating with the $1 million hole-in-one at the Birdsville Dunes Golf Club.

It will be the first major event for Queensland’s newest 18-hole golf course on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

A tattered flag sits atop a pole on a golf course hole in the rocky, red outback.

The Birdsville Golf Course will test the golfers on next year’s tour.(

ABC Western Queensland: Ellie Grounds


The Masters’ resident professional, Darren Weatherall, played the Birdsville course six months ago.

“It’s obviously much more red dirt, there’s the wildflowers and they’ve used that very, very well in order to design the golf course.

“The contouring of the golf course and the shaping of it is really something you would see at a sandbelt-style course, and it’s got sand greens as well.”

Golfers swap greens for sand at Outback Queensland Masters
Source 1


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