Date: July 25, 2019
Author: Tony Durkin

Mount Isa million view

When member Andrew Richardson donated $10,000 to Mount Isa Club two years ago to construct a deck overlooking the 18th green, little did members of the committee realise that one day the new facility would be spruiking a million-dollar view.

That impeccable view arrives from July 26 through to the July 28 when the final leg of the inaugural and innovative Outback Queensland Masters is played in Mount Isa. And, as a fitting finale, golfers will have the chance to win $1 million for a hole-in-one challenge.

“It has created unbelievable interest among our members, and the visiting golfers who will be here too, no doubt,” says Club Manager, Margie McDonald.

“I don’t know of any other event in Queensland that offers a million dollars for a hole-in-one, so that in itself makes this special. But for our club to be selected as the finish line for the first-ever Outback Masters is something of which we can all feel very proud.”

When the Masters – which teed off in Roma on June 17 and has visited Charleville, Longreach, Winton and Boulia en-route to Mount Isa – finishes on Sunday afternoon. Eligible players will tee up on the 18th hole for a shot at the gargantuan cash prize.

The 18th hole, has been shortened from a par four to a 150-metre par three for the one-off chance for a golfer to become a millionaire. To be eligible, golfers must have played in at least two of the six Outback Masters events.

Organised by Golf Australia, in conjunction with Strategic partner Tourism and Events Queensland to introduce golfers to not only the great outback courses but also the tourist attractions, the event has already attracted local, intrastate and interstate players and spectators.

Club Vice-President Ian Brown, known fondly around Mount Isa simply as ‘Browny’, has been a member of the club since 1962 and says golf fever has already struck. And he reckons the course is in the best condition it has ever been.

“I go back to the days of sand greens and often-bare fairways,” he lamented.

But he said it was the well-renowned spirit of a mining community that, over the years, has enabled the course to develop into a facility of which the members are justly proud.

“One of the benefits of shift work is that people have some spare hours at all times of the day and night,” he said.

“And country people are very generous with their time and their energy. Local contractors also donate their staff and machinery, and that is how we have been able to make our progress. Most of the labour is from volunteers.

“We have worked hard over the years to make the course better and better, and only a couple of our fairways now don’t have integrated watering.”

After more than half a century working in the mining industry in Mount Isa, ‘Browny’ suggested a visit to the city would not be complete without a trip down a mine.

He advocated a visit to The Isa Experience, which takes tourists on a history tour of  how mining has evolved from its discovery in the early 1920s to the Glencore mine that operates today.

The site of the Mary Kathleen uranium mine, which was closed in 1981, is also worth visiting according to Browny, as is the great expanse of Lake Moondarra and the Mount Isa Underground Hospital and Museum.

“But particularly for visitors from the city, I recommend a trip to the lookout – at night,” he said.

“You get a 360-degree view of the city and the light show, from the mines, plus the silhouettes from the mine smelter stacks, is just brilliant. And unlike the city, there is no smog.” 

For more information about the Outback Queensland Masters two days of entertainment, please visit the website.