Mark Shaw has taken on the role of professional at Gympie Pines golf course.
Mark Shaw has taken on the role of professional at Gympie Pines golf course. Claudia Baxter

Born-again fan takes over at Gympie Pines

SPORTS reporter Drew Timbs goes one on one with new golf pro Mark Shaw.

Q. MARK, what sparked your interest in golf?

A. When I was only 12 I would go to the local golf course and collect balls. I would then go back to the course the next day and re-sell the balls to members. It was my way of making pocket money.

Everybody knew I did it and one day my neighbour asked me if I wanted to play a game of golf with him.

I accepted and went out and played. I birdied my second hole and my neighbour asked, "How long have you been playing golf for?" I told him it was my first time playing and I'm fairly sure he spat the dummy and didn't play much golf after that.

From there my parents bought me a set of clubs and I would spend all day on the course. It was all I could think about.

Q. So what happened after taking golf ser-iously?

A. I joined the local club and continued playing until I was around 18 when I put down my clubs and stopped playing.

I got distracted after school and didn't have much interest in playing.

Q. So now at the age of 42, how did you get back into the sport and when?

A. I picked up my clubs again when I was 28, and knew I wanted to make a

career out of it.

I started to frequently play golf and eventual I started a professional traineeship at Nambour Golf Club.

After three years I became a professional and started working at Nambour.

During my traineeship, I completed a business plan for Gympie's course and I saw great potential.

The great facilities and course they had wasn't being fully utilised and definitely had room for improvement.

I made the move to Gympie in September this year after doing some after-school training and I'm now the professional at Gympie Pines.

Q. What are some of your big plans to help boost the sport of golf in Gympie?

A. I'm about to start working with company that especially helps to get kids involved in the sport. We will travel to schools in the region and help promote the sport to the kids and provide clear pathways if they want to continue.

Q. Mark, why do you have such a passion for golf and what makes you keep coming back?

A. The game keeps me coming back. I love it. It's you against the elements and the course, nothing else. It's a beautiful game.

Player profile

Name: Mark Shaw.

Age: 42.

Born: Brisbane.

Favourite TV program: Mostly watching sport.

Best at - putting or driving: Definitely putting.

Sport you would play if not golf: Rugby league.

Favourite golfer of all time: Ben Hogan.

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