Morisset Rotary Club laments cancellation of 'Hit 4 Youth Mental Health' golf day in wake of Morisset Country Club closure

MAKING PLANS: Morisset Rotarians Pam Greene, left, and Susan Shing, at Biv's Coffee House, in Morisset on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart
MAKING PLANS: Morisset Rotarians Pam Greene, left, and Susan Shing, at Biv's Coffee House, in Morisset on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart

THE closure of Morisset Country Club has forced the cancellation of a charity golf day that was on track to raise more than $40,000 for youth mental health projects in the district.

Morisset Rotary Club said its 'Hit 4 Youth Mental Health' had been scheduled for the Morisset golf course on August 30.

It's the latest casualty from the closure of the country club on May 26.

Morisset Rotarian Pam Greene said the inaugural Hit 4 Youth Mental Health, in 2018, had raised $40,000.

"This year, we could have made $50,000," she said.

"We had identified some amazing local businesses who were on board as sponsors, and who really wanted to be involved in the day."

From the proceeds of the inaugural event, $12,000 had been allocated to Morisset High School for a program to boost student confidence and build resilience, as well as improvements to the school gymnasium.

A sum of $4000 had gone to a project to better prepare local year 6 students to make the transition to high school, and a further $2000 had gone to local primary schools to train teachers to better assist young children with mental health issues.

The balance of the $40,000 was still subject to the application process, and had yet to be distributed, Ms Greene said.

This year, some $35,000 in corporate sponsorship for the golf day had been secured with more than two months remaining to attract more sponsors.

Add the expected golf fees from the day, as well as proceeds from donations, raffles and auctions, and the Rotary club said it could have cleared $50,000 for the cause.

Youth mental health had emerged as a growing problem in the district, and one Rotary was determined to rectify, Ms Greene said.

Professional golfers taking part in the nearest-the-pin shootout, which had been a popular feature of the annual Morisset Golf Pro-Am. Picture: David Stewart

Professional golfers taking part in the nearest-the-pin shootout, which had been a popular feature of the annual Morisset Golf Pro-Am. Picture: David Stewart

"Fifteen per cent of Morisset youth self-report as having been diagnosed with a mental health condition," the Rotary club reported last year.

"The huge increase in the incidence and reporting of adolescent mental health problems in our immediate area is not only alarming but totally unacceptable."

Ms Greene said the fallout from the country club's closure had impacted the young and old.

"The loss of the junior golf program is huge," she said.

"The golf pros ran wonderful junior golf programs there after school and, for many young people, that was their springboard into golf."

Morisset Rotarian Susan Shing agreed.

She said it was difficult to quantify how valuable golf and the golf course had been to the mental and physical health of many locals.

"The closure has removed a source of exercise, and that can only contribute to the problem [youth mental health] that we're dealing with," she said.

The club's closure had also hit the district's senior golfers hard, Ms Greene said.

"There were more than 25 people in their 80s who were playing golf at Morisset," she said.

"It filled their lives. They only played nine holes but they's spend much of the day there socialising and chatting."

Ms Shing said shifting to another golf club in the region was not an option for many of the older former members at Morisset.

"Some of these people are on restricted driving licences, so they can't go anywhere else," she said.

Ms Greene said the Rotary club was determined to resurrect the Hit 4 Youth Mental Health golf day at a new venue in 2020.

The Rotary Club was in discussions with former Morisset Country Club golf professional, Dave Stretton, the newly appointed director of golf at Kooindah Waters Golf Club, in Wyong, she said.

"Dave is a tremendous supporter of our event," Ms Greene said.

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