GOLF-loving grey nomads travelling in Queensland this month should call in at Quilpie for an event that could make them a motza.
The outback town is hosting the 2021 Ruralbank Quilpie Golf Open and is offering visitors the opportunity to a million dollars for a hole in one.
"We're aiming for around 150 entries to the event so we'll definitely be offering considerably better odds than any lottery for someone to possibly go home a millionaire after showing up for a round of golf in Quilpie," said Quilpie Golf Club president Bruce Paulsen.
Big-stakes hole-in-one golf competitions around the world are typically reserved for professionals, or those who can afford to tour and enter several events to qualify.
But the Quilpie event doesn't have a qualifier or prerequisites. Any punter with a great eye and straight swing can come and try their luck.
Just tee up on the hole, which is decided by the club committee on the day, and let fly.
Spectators are welcome, the more the merrier.
"We want people to come and share with us this very special slice of outback Queensland, and hopefully we'll send someone home with a full purse," Bruce said.
The hole-in-one event takes place on the open's fun day, August 14, which also features a four-ball, 18-hole ambrose.
The next day sees the men's and women's 18-hole stroke event, when the serious golfers come out to vie for more than $15,000 in prizes.
Bruce describes the Quilpie course, set on red earth dotted with huge, shady gumtrees, as "magic", with a temperate winter climate with wide-open, crisp blue skies.
"There's really nothing else like it," he said. "Just last week we had (NRL football star) Jonathan Thurston hit a few balls on the course and give it his tick of approval.
The clubhouse is a modest weatherboard structure sitting on a small island of verdant grass amid a sea of red.
What it lacks in grandeur it makes up for in outback hospitality, ice-cold beer and a rare golfing experience.
The course is a mostly flat range, with sand greens, proving itself a great leveller for golfers of all skill levels.
Bruce said: "We look forward to welcoming other avid golfers to the event as well, and showing them a great time.".
Bruce said the event is expected to provide much needed light relief for many locals who are also set to try their hand at winning the whopping prize.
"It's been a rough time in the bush. We've had years of drought, and now covid.
"We need the fun of events like this to come together and socialise in a safe way outdoors."
IF YOU GO...
Bruce encourages those who can still travel to book their accommodation and ticket packages and hit the road for an uplifting break - with plenty of space to social distance!
To keep tabs on numbers, registration for the hole-in-one event can only be done online but will be accepted up to 24 hours before the tee-off.
A Saturday player pass costs $75 and includes a packed lunch, two-course barbecue dinner and entry to both an 18-hole 4-ball ambrose and the million-dollar hole-in-one. Other packages are available.
As well as golf, the little town - two hours west of Charleville and six hours south of Longreach - has lots more to see, as indeed does the whole region.
The museum offers a hands-on, unique dinosaur experience, with Quilpie also boasting a vibrant arts scene, great outback pub and renowned opal mining.
For those who would like to stay on and soak up more of Queensland Outback, the region plans to stage a raft of other events later in the year.
These include the Quilpie Show & Shearers Reunion on September 10 & 11 and the Quilpie Motorbike Gymkhana & Enduro on September 25 & 26.
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