ON a clear early morning, Louis Dobbelaar was in intimately familiar surroundings at Brookwater Golf Course having first set foot in the course as a wide-eyed nine year old.
Recently re-signed to the Brookwater Golf Club’s stable of Ambassadors, the young professional was on course, dutifully and politely responding to a photographer’s every whim as often plays out in photo shoots of this nature.
‘Stand over there, move a bit to your right, can we just do that one again?’….
All in a day’s work for young professional Dobbelaar, for whom it seemed odd to be conversing on his observations of a rookie year in a past tense, when in fact his sophomore year in the pro ranks had only just finished.
After traipsing all over the world he returned home this year to compete in the early season PGA Tour of Australasia events.
It was the right move as Dobbelaar earned his first ‘cheque’ as a professional, and a sizeable one at that, for running third in the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland.
He backed it up with another strong performance to finish third in the Queensland PGA.
Louis has been a member at Brookwater for more than half his young life and it’s one of the few places of employment he’s ever had apart from his current profession.
It’s also a place he eagerly returns to from his now ever-increasing stints on the road.
“I’ve called it home for a long time and the support they’ve given me over the years has been unreal,” he said.
“To be able to come back to a base where you’ve got a friendly group of members and staff and a great facility to base yourself out of, is what I’ve loved.
“It’s a golf club I’ve been lucky enough to have played at for a long while and it’s an absolute treat for the area.
“Working here for a little bit was good fun too but cleaning golf carts made me realise I wanted to play golf a bit better.”
“The course has helped shaped my game more than any other. Lots of shots that you don’t get at most places. I remember when I was younger, we used to compare our Brookwater handicaps with other players.
Ours’ were always higher but anytime I played events or at other courses, it felt easier in a sense.”
“There were a couple of holes when I was younger where I couldn’t reach the fairways and had to chip onto some islands before I could carry the trouble.
“It’s funny because there are a couple of juniors coming through now that are literally doing the same stuff I used to do.”
The amusing tone of this ‘back in my day’ anecdote was not lost on Dobbelaar as the words spilled out of his mouth. As his list of deeds continues to grow, a list that will no doubt include his first professional win somewhere soon, the reality is that he’s progressing from being mentored by others to becoming one himself.
Dobbelaar conceded that his only goal when he turned pro was to secure starts and a card in Australia to go with the status he had already secured on the LatinoAmerica.
Finishing the Order of Merit in sixth place, with just shy of $100,000 in earnings from 11 events, was satisfying and reminiscent of the fortunes of another Brisbane product who has taken the world by storm this year.
The parallels between Dobbelaar’s life and early career achievements and that of newly minted Open champion Cameron Smith make for interesting reading.
Both are proud Brisbane boys, have been coached by the same Sunshine Coast mentor in Grant Field from young ages and enjoyed prodigious amateur careers before turning pro – which include capturing Australian Amateur titles.
They now share the same management company, hairstyles, a love of cars and, a remarkable ability to set and tick off career milestones almost at will.
“It’s inspirational for everyone and especially people coming through and trying to make a living out of the game.” Dobbelaar said of Smith’s recent triumphs.
With just months till tournament activity ramps up with the PGA Tour of Australasia season Dobbelaar said he’ll be playing most of the events and, the Aussie Open and PGA.