Department of Human Services staff put their passion for golf to good use and took on the challenge of playing every golf course across Tasmania in one month to raise money for beyondblue.
There are 83 golf courses in Tasmania, with a total of 1,005 holes and while most people will only play a handful of these in their lifetime, department staff Andrew Main and Bernie Klasen recently completed the challenge of playing every single one.
“While that sounds a bit extreme, among really keen golfers in Tassie, playing every course of every hole in the state is probably not unheard of,” Andrew explained.
“Most people give themselves a goal of taking a year or so to do it. But we did in one month!”
The idea started as a jovial conversation and quickly grew into a plan that took around 18 months to execute.
“It started out as a bit of a chat and before we knew it, the whole thing had expanded rapidly,” Bernie remembers.
“The more we looked at it, the more we thought, this can definitely be done.”
Not content with just completing the challenge, Andrew, Bernie and 2 of their friends, Jason and Luke, thought they should expand the idea further again.
“We thought, there’s a bigger purpose than just 4 idiots in golf carts,” Andrew said. “We could actually help people.
“We talked and it became apparent all of us had been touched by depression in some way, whether ourselves or someone we cared about.
“Some of the boys had lost someone they knew due to depression, so we agreed to approach beyondblue and form a partnership.
“CEO Jeff Kennett was incredibly supportive right from the start and helped us get in touch with a lot of his contacts.”
And just like that, ‘Carts FORE a cause’ was formed.
The sheer scope of the challenge meant Andrew and Bernie would need as much help as possible.
“The logistics of the whole thing were massive, but we didn’t mind that because the tour quickly became about so much more than just completing the challenge,” Andrew recalls.
“I remember speaking to a gentleman who was his wife’s carer and she had recently passed away. He fell into a deep clinical depression and I remember him telling us ‘I can’t afford my golf membership, but I can’t afford not to have it’ due to the personal benefit he gets from being on the course.
“That’s when we knew the whole challenge was a lot bigger than us.”
Bernie agreed, saying the conversations about mental health throughout the experience were important to so many people.
“At the start it was about raising money, but in the end it was about hearing people’s stories,” he said.
“One of the more touching stories was of a lady in northern Tasmania who lost 3 members of her family to suicide in the last 2 years.
“She collected and recycled 5,800 cans so she could give us a $50 donation. That’s how much it meant to her. And there were many stories like that we could all tell, where people just rallied behind a common cause.”
The success of ‘Carts FORE a cause’ was something far greater than any of them could have imagined.
“There’s still a fair amount of money yet to be counted,” Andrew explains. “So far we’ve counted in excess of $70,000 and we’re hoping we will have raised around $100,000 for beyondblue in total.”
Bernie says the money will go a long way toward helping beyondblue provide mental health services.
“Jeff Kennett has let us know he’d like to make sure all the money raised is spent in Tasmania, which is great news,” he said.