If a measure of success is leaving a place in a better state than which you found it then Bill Minns’ time at Broome Golf Club is an unquestioned triumph.
Not that he is going anywhere any time soon.
A PGA Professional who did his time under Gary Campbell at Renmark and Murray Crafter at Blackwood in Adelaide, Minns was encouraged to visit Broome in north-west Western Australia, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
More than two decades later, he hasn’t yet found a reason to leave.
“I came here for a holiday because a mate of mine said if there’s a place he could live, it was Broome,” Minns recalls.
“I drove to Broome and never left. That was 23 years ago. It’s just one of those places. There’s a lot of people that have the same story up here.”
Minns’ arrival in Broome coincided with a break from the game, a break that would ultimately end in opportune circumstances on one of the region’s spectacular beaches.
“I basically gave golf away for quite a while,” says Minns. “I was down on the beach teaching my wife at the time. I hadn’t touched a golf club for a couple of years and she said, ‘Is there any chance you could teach me how to play golf?’
“I had a golf club in the car – which I have no idea how it was even there – and within about five minutes I just thought, What the hell have I been doing?”
After rejoining the PGA of Australia, Minns enquired at Broome Golf Club as to the possibility of offering the odd lesson to members.
A month later he asked whether he could open a pro shop, a request that was met by large doses of doubt that a city of little more than 10,000 local residents could sustain such a venture.
Minns was given the go ahead and three months later he was asked to add ‘General Manager’ to his duties as ‘Head Professional’.
That was 15 years ago but it is the future of Broome Golf Club that excites Minns so much.
Minns was part of the delegation that sought a Federal Government grant to build a new clubhouse and received $5.1 million from the Building Better Regions Fund, that clubhouse quickly becoming a local hangout upon its opening in April this year.
Despite the travel challenges presented by COVID-19 in the past 18 months Broome itself has been booming.
West Australians have headed north for their annual escapes and Minns estimates that the golf club’s patronage now consists of 60 per cent visitors and 40 per cent locals.
The club showcased its immaculately-manicured golf course at the Broome Furnishing-Carpet Paint and Tile Pro Am in June but it is the new clubhouse that has instilled an even greater sense of pride within those who call Broome home.
“It’s going fantastically. Because it’s obviously open to the public on Friday afternoons it’s become the local pub, which is great,” adds Minns.
“The members utilise it a lot more than the older clubhouse and the visitors have been fantastic as well.
“Because of COVID and staffing issues the restaurant hasn’t yet opened as such but we’ve got 20 functions booked in for the next eight weeks and once things get back to normal we’ll get the restaurant up and running.”
And provide yet another reason to have the holiday of a lifetime in Broome.