Date: March 22, 2016
Author: Dave Tease, Golf NSW

Kareela growing community spirit

Kareela Golf Club has been named as a finalist in this year's Clubs NSW – Clubs and Community Awards in the Disability, Welfare and Social Inclusion section for their efforts in employing an apprentice greenkeeper with a profound hearing impairment.

The Shire club took the step of filling the role and ensuring that the placement worked seamlessly with the help of employment provider Nova Employment.

“It was the first time we’ve dealt with Nova. They’ve been really good. We advertised for an apprentice greenkeeper and Liam was one of the applicants. He got the job on his merits,” Dennis Skinner, General Manager of Kareela Golf Club said.

For 18-year old Liam Magee, landing an apprenticeship is a dream come true. Even his mum is over the moon.

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There were a number of issues to be addressed before the club could put Liam on. Not the least of these was his inability to hear a golfer call out ‘Fore!’ if he was working alone on the golf course. The Club worked through the roadblocks and he’s become a valuable member of the staff.

“He’s going really well, and really responded to working outside. He’s a real trooper putting in the effort, and is doing well at TAFE,” Mr Skinner smiled.

Unsurprisingly though, it isn’t the first time that Kareela have been nominated for a Clubs NSW Community Award. Their support of the nearby Bates Drive Public School, a facility which caters for children with mild to severe physical and intellectual disabilities, has been recognised before with them being named as a finalist in a similar category back in 2014.

“We hold a charity golf day for them every year. In the last six or seven years we’ve raised over $100,000.”

“In order to win one of these awards, simply raising cash isn’t enough. You have to be more engaged with your community,” Mr Skinner said.

Today, the members are proud of the club’s active role in the local community and how the sense of engagement rewards them. Mr Skinner is keen to build the relationship between the school and his members even more.

“We're looking at programs that put together the young and old – like getting some of our seniors together with kids from the school by building some waist-high garden beds for the kids to come across and enjoy the sensory experience. Then our seniors that love gardening could come over and help the kids,” he added.

It’s all part of the plan to keep Kareela Golf Club a key part of the local community, as it is to be a healthy golf club according to Mr Skinner.

“There’s lots of things we’d like to do, but there’s not a lot of cash to throw around either.”

“We’re kind of doing our best to remain a community hub in our area. That’s all,” Mr Skinner smiled.