The Centralian advocate Tue 7 Apr 2020
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers.; Australia, Central -- Newspapers
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10 NEWS TUESDAY APRIL 7 2020 CAVE01Z01MA - V1 Top-50 golfer. That gave me an interest and made me think can I play this game at pro level, he said. I approached the club pro at the local Claremont golf club, Steve Frith, and asked about doing an apprenticeship under him. He said yes, but he was moving to Alice, so I moved to Alice! Leigh had been working with the Commonwealth Governments Department of Veterans Affairs. He took off 12 months without pay and came to Alice. After Leigh got here, he discovered that a golfing apprenticeship was the only apprenticeship that doesnt qualify for a Government Living Away From Home Allowance. That combined with the high cost of living in Alice put an end to Leighs dreams of completing a golfing apprenticeship. Leigh may never have become a pro golfer, but he has become the Don Bradman of the sport in Alice Springs. His dominance is legendary. Leigh has won 11 Club Championships, 5 Alice Springs Opens and 15 mens foursomes tournaments since 1993. He has shot the course record twice. Leigh shares the record with Kerryn Heaver who has also shot a 64. In 2002, Leigh and a team from Alice Springs came second in the Holden Scramble. The Holden Scramble is a National Teams Event. The following year, Leigh and his team went one better and were crowned Australian Champions. Leighs teammates were Amy Booth, Yvonne Clissold, Darrel Jeffries, and their pro for the Final was Cameron Percy. Amy and Yvonne had only just taken up the sport a year beforehand. To watch them and the elation they felt, doing things like holing a put from 10 metres was just fantastic, he said. In 2015 Leigh captained the first ever Northern Territory team to compete at the Australian Interstate Series. It was at the Huntingdale Golf Club. It was an honour and a privilege to be part of history, wearing the Territory Ochre jacket at the flag raising ceremony. It was an amazing feeling. One thing that stands out about Leigh is his modesty. I dont have the most natural golf swing going around. And Im not mentally the strongest over the putter, he said. I just practice a lot. Repetition going around again and again. Practice and dedication. I remember when I was a 16 year-old kid, Id be hitting golf balls, listening to my Walkman, with two big ugly speakers, a crackly tape of the Rolling Stones. Now Im out there with my JBLs! Leighs most important ever day on the golf course was the day he met the love of his life. I first laid eyes on Sarah on the third green of the Alice Golf Club, he recalls. She was in the group in front of us. They called our group through. I just had a bit Leigh Shacklady and his trademark golf swing have become synonymous with golf in Alice Springs. Leigh with his parents, mum Shirley and dad Barry. Leigh and wife Sarah at the famous Pebble Beach golf course. OUTBACK CHARACTERS Leigh fits in Alice down to a tee A legend golfer and an even better person LEIGH Shacklady was born in Hobart, and grew up with Mum Shirley, Dad Barry and older sister Rae. He lived at home until he was 17, but is always in contact with his family, and only recently set his Mum up with Facebook Messenger so that they could video chat. It was a great place to grow up, we were in the suburb of Montrose, he remembers. The local Aussie rules side was the Glenorchy Magpies- I followed them, and because of the Magpies, Collingwood became my team in Victoria. Dad is English, he was a soccer coach, so soccer was my first sport that I played as a kid. Leigh didnt just play. He was a young gun of the sport. The junior midfielder made the Tasmanian Under 15 rep team, and toured New Zealand as part of the South Tassie rep side. My claim to fame is that I almost scored a goal against Mark Bosnich, he recalls fondly. Bosnich is one of Australias greatest soccer exports, and played for Manchester United as a goalkeeper. Back in the junior days, Bosnich was goalkeeping for New South Wales. I hit the post! I was in midfield, I got past a couple and I almost had Bosnich beat, Leigh says laughing. Leigh also liked kicking the footy, and riding BMX, but soon another sport would take over all together. Dad had an old bag of golf clubs. I grabbed a couple out one day, he said. Where we lived there was a bit of vacant land, and I started hitting golf balls. Id go to the local school oval, and play what I liked to call Footy Golf, where you tee off from one goalsquare, and hit towards the goals at the other end. Youd get six points if you got it between the goalposts. I had a couple mates that would come and join in. Clearly the Footy Golf worked a treat! In 1993, Leigh won the Tasmanian Under-24 Championship. In that Championship, he beat Matthew Goggin, who went on to become a World Leigh Shacklady is a passionate golfer and an all around good guy. Picture: CHRISTINE ANSORGE OUTBACK CHARACTERS WITH LACHLAN WILLS
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