A cause that not even COVID-19 could stop

Sanctuary Cove PGA Professional Michael Jones never once considered cancelling his second annual ‘Morning Tee’ in aid of the Cancer Council in this age of COVID-19, he just had to find a different way to deliver it.

Jones and Oregon State University representative and Sanctuary Cove member Isabelle Taylor last week hosted three clinics for lady members at Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club on the Gold Coast, the restrictions on public gatherings keeping each clinic to a maximum of eight participants.

It’s a far cry from the 75 ladies who attended the inaugural ‘Morning Tee’ conducted by Jones last year but represents an opportunity to do some good as so many people are doing it tough.

“I had testicular cancer when I was 30 and went through the whole gamut of chemotherapy, the whole lot,” explains Jones, who in addition to his role as Golf Instructor at Sanctuary Cove has worked with tour players such as Brad Kennedy and Matthew Millar.

“The treatments have come a long way since then and that’s in large part because people have been able to help research by raising money.

“As a golf pro I thought about what I could do and so last year we had the first of our ‘Morning Tee’ clinics where we raised around $3,500.

“Even though we are in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic it shows that people are still trying to do things to benefit people going through cancer treatment, diagnosis and recovery.

“So many things are having to be cancelled due to the coronavirus and the restrictions but I just thought that if there was a way and a means of doing it, why not.”

Despite the country being in lockdown for much of the past three months, the ladies at Sanctuary Cove responded just as Jones expected they would when he announced that he and Isabelle would be conducting the clinics again.

“We sold out the clinics in about 45 minutes. It was like they were tickets to a U2 concert or something,” says Jones, laughing.

“We put on two clinics and they sold out really quickly, put on a third and that also sold out. We could probably have put on two more if we’d wanted to.

“There are a few ladies here going through breast cancer and ovarian cancer so the cause is quite close to them and they got behind it straight away.

“It’s another good example that while we’re in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment, if we can still help out some people who are doing it a bit tougher than us then why not.”

Given the number of members who are residents at Sanctuary Cove, demand for tee times and lessons has been high as Aussies have been forced to stay close to home.

And not only have existing members increased the frequency of their play, Jones is seeing some former golfers return to the sport in strong numbers.

“I’ve got a number of lessons this week with people who are getting back into golf. With all the restrictions people are genuinely looking at activities they can participate in,” says Jones.

“They might have played when they were a kid and because they can get out and play have dusted off the clubs and got back out there.

“The overwhelming feeling during this time here has been gratitude. The members at Sanctuary Cove have all been terrific in accepting the way they have had to play their golf the past couple of months and they all adhered to it really quickly. Like most courses, they recognised that something was better than nothing.

“Teaching-wise it’s been probably one of my busiest periods because whatever people are allowed to do, they seem to be doing a lot of it.

“We have a lot of elderly members here who might live on their own these days so if they don’t come to golf they don’t get the opportunity to talk to too many people.

“I’ve spent quite a few half-hour lessons just talking to people more so than worrying about hitting golf balls.

“In this current climate people are searching for something positive and to at least have the satisfaction that they did something with their day and golf has been able to provide that for them.”

If you would like to donate to the Cancer Council click here.

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