On the longest day of the year, across the world, people participate in rituals that go back centuries, but one ritual in Benalla is making a difference.
Hold tight - we’re checking permissions before loading more content
On Sunday, December 17, four golfers will band together and play 72 holes of golf at the Benalla Golf Club to raise funds for Cancer Crushers.
Anthony Symes, Daniel Symes, Adam Levy and Mick Polwarth will be getting into the swing of things early in the morning and will not stop putting along until around 5.30pm.
Anthony Symes said preparations for the team’s marathon journey around the Benalla course were teeing off.
“It’s our fifth year at it. We’ve done it every year in December for the last four years,” he said.
“(We) probably just do our own preparation; I suppose a little bit of extra walking than we normally do.
“And then obviously being golf fit as well and ready to be able to swing a golf club a certain amount of times over the 72 holes.
“We have what we call our support crew. They drive the golf carts. So our golf clubs sit on the back of those golf carts. We walk the 72 holes.
“It’s about around the 40 (kilometre) mark (that we cover).
“I think a couple of years, we’ve been a little bit less, and others would have been a little bit more.”
Playing 72 holes of golf might sound like a dream, and there’s no doubt that the four players will be chomping at the bit to get going.
But Symes says the most rewarding aspect of the event is knowing the money raised will make a difference.
“We’ve had a really good sort of 24, 36 hours. We’re up over $7000 now,” he said.
“I think at last check (it was) about $7300, somewhere in there.
“We’re trying to chase our goal of $15,000. Last year, we did around $13,000.
“So this year, we’re just trying to go a little bit more. We still have another 10 days or so to go.
“(Our lives have) all been affected.
“Probably not so much the skin cancer side, but with cancer in general.
“And that’s why we did it initially because we’ve all been affected in one way or another.”
While the aim of the game is simply to get through the huge amount of golf set before them on December 17, it’s impossible to forego a bit of competition.
Symes said there had been some incredible achievements on the course.
“My cousin Daniel, who’s part of the four, I think last year he shot four under through the 72 holes,” he said.
“He plays a plus one, so it is only to his handicap over that number of holes, but it’s pretty good going.”
The day would not have been possible without the contributions of local businesses, and Symes and the rest of the team are grateful for their support.
“(I would like to thank) the Benalla Golf Club and Benalla Golf Shop,” he said.
“Then you’ve got Ray White Benalla and Mitre 10.
“All the butchers have jumped on board with us.
“Donohue Quality Meats and Rettkes Carrier St Meats provided us with meat trays to be able to sell raffle tickets for.
“And then we’ve had some other prizes from Middy’s Benalla and a few other local businesses.
“The support of Brew and Toasties has also been a standout.
“The whole community has gotten behind us, which is great.”
For golf lovers wishing they could be out on the course on the day, fear not because there will be a nine-hole, two-person ambrose event just for you.
For those not so keen on swinging the clubs, there will be live entertainment for the adults and a jumping castle for the kids.
Symes encourages anyone interested in having a fun night for a good cause to come down to the Benalla Golf Club.
“In the evening, we’ve got a band out there, and we have sort of like a Christmas breakup as well and all joining in as one,” he said.
“(The festivities) start at about 5.30pm and go through to sort of about 8.30pm.
“There will be food available. Obviously, the normal bistro will be open, but there’ll also be some roast rolls, and chips and nuggets for the kids.
“We’re (the golfers) hoping to finish (the final hole) between 5.30pm and 6pm.
“Then we’ll do the raffle and draw out the prizes. Just make a really good night of it.”
If you would like to donate to Anthony Symes, Daniel Symes, Adam Levy and Mick Polwarth’s Cancer Crusher fundraiser, you can do so at https://www.longestday.org.au/fundraisers/CancerCrushers