Getting Noel McCabe to talk about his accomplishments is tougher than 18 holes at Carnoustie with a brutal wind whipping off the North Sea coast.
McCabe admits he likes flying “under the radar” and downplays his years of dedication nurturing future generations of golfers.
But after picking up the 2017 Best Club Stalwart Award there’s simply no denying it – the quietly spoken Queenslander is a deadest local legend.
For more than 25 years he’s pitched in at the McLeod Country Golf Club south-west of Brisbane helping to create a welcoming environment for the club’s juniors.
He often walks the course with first-time players, runs the special Pee Wees pennant competitions and takes care of the small details, right down to laying out the junior tees.
It’s dedication that comes with its own rewards.
“Just looking at the glee on their faces when they get things right” is a highlight of working with youngsters he says.
“Helping them to understand the game of golf, that it’s never the same from one week to the next, and seeing the ones that go through later in life to play – that’s special.”
From the Clubbies prize pack McCabe received, one item stands out – the stalwart trophy which now shares pride of place in his home office.
“In quieter moments I’m quite proud of that,” McCabe says. “In other moments I think, what did I do to deserve that?
“It sits right up there with my hole in one trophy which I won a couple of years ago. The only one I’ve ever had, and ever likely to have. I’ve got four sisters and three of them have multiple holes in one – so I can’t say too much.”
More than anything McCabe hopes to encourage more young people to take up the game he loves.
“It’s a wonderful sport,” he says. “To become good at it you have to start very young and you can play it until virtually your last breath. There are not many sports you can do that with.”
MAIN PHOTO: Noel McCabe with some of the McLeod Juniors