Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Aussies - and Brett Hull - Put Another Birdie on the Barby

For the past three years, a group of Australian golf professionals - most of them living in the DFW Metroplex - have staged the "Birdies for Kids Fundraiser," raising nearly $200,000 in proceeds, all of which are donated to the NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation's Golf-In-School Program and the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

This year, the Aussies - plus "honorary Aussie" Brett Hull - are back at it. The fourth Birdies for Kids Fundraiser takes place Aug. 20 at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas.

"We all feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work here and simply wanted to do something to give back to the local community," said one of the Australian golf pros, Dean Larsson, who who is an assistant pro at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas. "The first three events have been tremendously successful and have far exceeded our expectations. We have raised $196,401.47 in the last three years thanks to many generous people who supported our fundraiser. Our goal is raise more than $100,000.00 this year."

The seven Aussies get local businesses and individuals to sponsor them in a daylong marathon of golf in which they try to make as many birdies and eagles as they can. In years past they played 72 holes each in one day in July. This year they are upping the ante and playing 108 holes each in August.

Cameron McCormick, director of instruction at Brook Hollow and one of the seven Aussies, said 72 holes in July just wasn't tough enough. Playing 108 holes in August will "make the day feel more like going walkabout in the outback than a stroll on the beach."

Hockey legend Brett Hull first took part last year, when the group went looking for an eighth in order to play as four twosomes. Hull volunteered to return every year if needed, and the group asked him back this year.

In addition to McCormick and Larsson, the other Australians taking part are Stuart Deane, PGA Member from Arlington; Nick Griffin, an assistant professional at Bent Tree; Travis Johns, an assistant professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas; Jeremy Langdale, an assistant professional at Green Tree Country Club in Midland; and Mark Harrison, the director of operations with the Northern Texas PGA.


New for this year, the group has asked members of the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation and Texas Legends Junior Tour to become “honorary Aussies” for the summer to help raise money for kids.

Junior golfers are asking for support from friends, neighbors and relatives in an effort to raise money for the respective charities. In addition to sending letters, the kids can also create their own fundraising website. Simply visit and click on Become a Fundraiser to set up a site and learn more about how to become a fundraiser.

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