Tiger Woods earned the accolades and admiration of golfers and sports lovers worldwide when he emerged from a career-threatening back injury to win his fifth US Masters golf title back in April.
But, more importantly for a Sunshine Coast family, Tiger’s headline-grabbing victory drew their 15-year-old son away from the computer screen and back to the golf course where he had once shown signs of maybe one day emulating the feats of Tiger.
Year 10 student Josh Holbrook started golf when he was 10, and within two years was playing off a handicap of 14. In 2015, as a member of Headland Golf Club’s Junior Pennant team, he was named Sunshine Coast Golf Zone Junior Pennant player of the year, and was regularly beating the best youngsters on the coast.
Suddenly, however, his focus changed. Josh started skating and, living near the beach, he also took a liking to wake boarding and surfing – good, healthy pastimes.
Then, a trendy video game named Fortnite intervened. Josh abruptly lost interest not only in golf, but the other sports he was playing. He estimates that for close on two years he would spend up to three hours a day playing the game.
“We were at a loss to know what to do,” says his dad Jamie, a real estate agent who regularly beat Adam Scott when they were both juniors at Twin Waters Golf Club.
“His mum (Agi) and I knew it wasn’t healthy for him to be couped up in his room playing this game, but as other parents can attest, the solution is not as simple as saying ‘don’t play it’.”
Finally, the penny dropped for Josh when he was convinced by his dad join him watching the 2019 Masters from Augusta. So transfixed was Josh by the tournament, and the stunning victory by Tiger, it was the catalyst for him to again fall in love with golf.
“I had become obsessed with Fortnite – I appreciate that now,” Josh confessed.
“As I watched the Masters, and particularly the way Tiger played, I realised how much I had missed playing golf. I also thought about how much better I would have been now, had I spent those three hours a day practising.”
Josh, has since enjoyed two months of incredible golf. His win in the championships in May kick-started his journey back into the game and his recent triumphant run was capped off last week with four days of school-holiday success.
On Tuesday he finished third in the Single Par event (square), was third in the A Grade Monthly Medal (71 nett) on Wednesday, second in A Grade in Saturday’s Single Stroke (68 nett) and on Sunday won the Junior Monthly Medal (72 nett). As well, he collected a nearest-the-pin shot on Sunday. Since returning to golf in May, Josh has shaved 10 shots from his handicap – from 17 to 7 – has jumped from C Grade to A Grade and won eight club events, including three successive Junior Monthly Medals.
“It is just wonderful to have him back. His mum and I are ecstatic,” said a proud and delighted Jamie.