Date: June 10, 2016
Author: Dave Tease, Golf NSW

Volunteers put the bounce back into Ballina

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It was more than just a hearty band of volunteers that put the bounce back into Ballina Golf Club after the terrible storm last weekend, they are the lifeblood of the club.

“We had a couple of hundred millimetres and high winds on Saturday,” Mark Whiting, Ballina Sports and Golf Club CEO said. “Trees were down, it was a swathe of debris really.”

Come Monday morning and there was a ready collection of 25 or so members and volunteers getting stuck into the clean up.

“We send a call out for help on the radio and on the club’s website and sure enough there’s an army of people ready and willing to help. The members here are really committed. It's certainly gratifying to see them turn up in numbers to help.”

The hardy band of helpers took around five hours or so doing the manual lifting while the green staff got stuck into the heavy-duty work with the chainsaws. A couple of truckloads of chopped up limbs and fallen debris was collected and removed during the clean-up effort.

Whiting was amongst the clean up crew and was left in awe with their work ethic.

“I was out there myself for an hour and I say to myself, ‘Gee my backs getting a bit sore,’ I turn around and here’s an 80yr old Life Member going two to my one. I thought I better stop my whinging and keep picking up.”

“I ended up making up an excuse to leave and go and get some pies and cakes for them,” Whiting laughed.

The members of the Northern Rivers club are justifiably proud of what they have and it’s clear the club spirit extends beyond simply helping out in emergencies.

“We would have 8 to 12 regulars who show up a couple of days a week. They do everything from sitting on fairway mowers to doing the gardens. The amount of money they save the club is tens of thousands a year easily.”

Whiting believes it's more than simply the pride in the club. It’s the ownership many members feel.

“They get a sense of ownership from it and we’re lucky in that respect. We get big numbers through for presentation evenings. A lot of people here still invest that way in the club.”

As for the clean up job, Whiting was happy to give the crew a big vote of thanks on behalf of the club.

 “It’s always hearting to see such numbers and such club spirit. It’s one of the things we cherish about our members and our club,” he smiled.