Ron's putting on a clinic
AS FAR as impressive sporting feats are concerned, Kingaroy golfer Ron Drabsch is up there with the best of them.
In athletics it is the sub-10 second 100m sprint; in tenpin it is bowling a perfect 300 game, and in Australian football it means kicking 100 goals in a single season.
But in golf it is shooting a round under your age, and Drabsch has managed it - 12 times.
Because as we all know, when Father Time takes hold it becomes harder to maintain the ability and consistency to compete at a high level, at least for most people.
The 80 year-old Drabsch is something of an enigma in this regard, first matching his age shooting 77 off the stick in September 2014.
He has since done so 11 more times, but the 23-year golf veteran admits he had no idea it was anything to boast about, until his playing partners started talking it up.
"I didn't realise until Tim (Robe) told me how rare it was,” Drabsch said.
"He said, 'Hey mate you just shot your age' and I thought, 'Oh yeah, what's the big deal?'
"And then of course in a few weeks I did it again.”
With the Kingaroy Course listed as an 18-hole Par 71, it takes a tremendous golfer to manage the feet before their 70th birthday, even before considering age as a limiting factor.
"You always set yourself up to do something, and originally it was just to get my handicap down to single figures,” Drabsch said.
"I've been playing 23 years and got down to 10 a few times, but by the time I was 80 I could see it wasn't going to be easy to get there.
"So the next thing to work on was shooting my age. Once I managed that 77 (in September 2014) I thought, 'Oh well, I'll try to keep doing this'.”
Drabsch credits his longevity to a combination of genetics - his Mother was a champion tennis player and Father a footballer - and keeping limber with regular stretching.
"I've had polymyalgia for a while which limits my distance, but I still manage to play with that,” Drabsch said.
"You notice as you get older the ball doesn't go as far, but I'm fairly consistent around the greens and I keep it straight.
"The important shot is always the next one - so long as you get it in that little hole at the other end, that's all that matters.”
For Drabsch, it is his inherent competitive nature that brings him back to the golf course up to three times each week.
"I've always been competitive with my sport,” Drabsch said.
"It's great because it gives you a release; sport has always been able to relax me.
"What I like about golf is you're really against yourself moreso than anything else.”
With his single-figure handicap goal a thing of the past, Drabsch plans to shoot 20 rounds under his age before he - if ever - decides to put the clubs away.
"I'm on 12 so far and I nearly did it again the other day, so I'm thinking I've got all year to go - my age doesn't change again until November,” Drabsch said.