AUSTRALIAN and British war veterans have teed off at Noosa Springs this week in a unique golf tournament involving men who have overcome traumatic injury.
It's part Invictus Games, part Ryder Cup. And it's the most important sports event on earth for 20 ex-servicemen who have already proven that they are genuine heroes.
The Clyde Pearce Cup started yesterday and runs until tomorrow. It is the third in the series. The first took place on some of Melbourne's finest golf courses in 2015, and the return match was conducted last October at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, where the UK team again proved too strong.
The tournament came about through the combined efforts of Soldier On Australia and Britain's Battle Back Golf - two organisations whose goal is to help secure the futures of those who served their nation.
Like the organisers of the Invictus Games, they believe in using the power of sport to inspire recovery and support the rehabilitation of wounded, injured and sick veterans.
Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort general manager Mark Brady said he was delighted that Noosa Springs was able to host such a significant event - particularly as it was the first time it had been staged in Queensland.
"We're looking forward to some great golf being played,” he said.
Ten golfers from each country, with varying skill levels and disabilities, will take part in the three-day event, which will be conducted under a different format each day - Ambrose, foursomes and singles.
The Clyde Pearce Cup will be followed by a charity golf day on Thursday, November 16, beginning at noon, and featuring members of the two national teams. Members of the public are invited to take part.
Soldier On national director of development and sports programs Tony Fraser said eight of the 10 Australians who played in Wales last year would again represent their country, while the British team was largely made up of new representatives.
He acknowledged the support of ISPS Handa, a major sponsor of golf in Australia and New Zealand. It is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting the involvement of disabled athletes in sport, including golf.
Mr Fraser said former New Zealand prime minister Sir John Key, an ambassador for ISPS Handa, was likely to be teeing it up at Noosa Springs. He said golf was ideal for injured veterans, allowing them to be competitive at any level, as well as improving their confidence and self-esteem.
Soldier On Australia works to secure the futures of Australian veterans and their families. It also supports former members of the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Department of Foreign Affairs and other security agencies.
Registration for the Charity Golf Day on Thursday closes at 5pm on Wednesday. The cost is $80 for each player, or $300 for a team of four. The cost includes a motorised buggy and post-game nibbles. Contact Don McKill on 0437013648 for details.
Clyde Pearce, a Tasmanian grazier, was the first native-born Australian golfer to win the Australian Open. In World War I, Pearce served with the 10th Light Horse Regiment at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He was one of 7000 Australians killed in the Battle of Messines, near the Belgian town of Ypres, in 1917. A tree planted in his honour in Hobart's Soldiers Memorial Ave in 1918 is still maintained.
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