Reconciliation Golf Day a chance to yarn and connect
Tuesday 30 May 2023
Inner West Council is thrilled to support the Reconciliation Golf Tournament hosted by Marrickville Golf, Sporting and Community Club on Friday 2 June as part of Reconciliation Week.
Now in its fourth year, the tournament is a day of coming together, having a yarn and some fun on the golf course in the spirit of reconciliation.
Club President Andrew Tighe said the idea for the tournament was initiated by members and boasts a full field of 80 players.
“It is a way to boost inclusion, everyone appreciates it as a gesture and a practical attempt to demonstrate to the community there are strong feelings for reconciliation,” said Tighe.
“We are a very community-driven club and it was an initiative driven by members and the indigenous community thought it was a good idea.”
Inner West Council will have more than 20 staff members teeing off at Marrickville, representing a cross section of nationalities, gathering in the spirit of reconciliation.
“Events such as these are testament to the passion inner westies hold for reconciliation, and I am so proud that the Marrickville Golf Sporting and Community Club and Inner West Council are continuing with this important tradition,” said Inner West Clr Mat Howard.
"I congratulate and thank the Club, local First Nations people and all the participants for taking part this Friday."
Streetscape worker for Inner West, Craig Dargan, said the day was a wonderful opportunity for people to come together.
“I was driving around in a buggy last year and I could hear everyone having a laugh and it is good for reconciliation, with all nationalities playing on this day,” said Dargan, a Bidjigal man.
“The good thing is we got a few Aboriginal boys playing, we’ve got Greek people, and Maori and Islanders and a few white people. Everyone mixes with one another, from all different cultures.”
The free tournament, which includes breakfast and a presentation lunch, is open to the wider community and has become a special day on the calendar for the Indigenous community as part of Reconciliation Week.
Tighe said golf was a great leveller and an opportunity for players to have a yarn while competing in the four-player teams’ event.
“We would like to be the club where the Aboriginal community feels welcomed, at home and enjoy the game, everyone is trying to get that little ball in the hole,” said Tighe.
Tighe said the club has a small percentage of members who identify as indigenous and said the tournament was a way to encourage greater participation as members or social players.
“We don’t have a huge representation; on the day it brings people together. You don’t have to be a member to play social golf,” said Tighe.
“They’re not visible and opportunities like this provide opportunities, as we don’t see young Aboriginal people take up the game.”
Ivan Clarke will be one of the players swinging a club on Sunday.
Clarke is a one-man charity, taking donated golf equipment at his own expense to indigenous communities in western Sydney.
Clarke says there needs to be more pathways for talented young indigenous sportspeople to try golf.
“We give them an opportunity to see what skill is required and they are naturals, most have phenomenal skills and the hand eye coordination,” said Clarke.
“If we nurture that and support that we could have future Aboriginal pro golfers because it’s just not thought of a lot, like rugby league, AFL and cricket.”
The golf club has made two separate donations of golf equipment, with 30 sets of clubs and buggies donated by the club and distributed in partnership by Clarke.
Clarke has delivered golf equipment to the Redfern All Blacks cricket club and to clubs in Wilcannia.
He also made a charity run to Ballina, delivering golf sets, buggies and balls to clubs and helping to boost spirits following devastating floods.
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