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Anthony • 15 mins
By Joshua Papanikolaou (PSG Staff)
At just 12 years old Gary Abraham is playing golf against men at his local club and has already taken the scalp of his father Winston who took up the game after his AFL career ended prematurely.
It did not take long for the former Docker and Kangaroo to develop a strong golf game when he stopped playing football, but his two sons have taken even less time to impress on the course.
Gary, his youngest son, represented First Nation at the 2017 Pacific School Games in Adelaide, an indigenous team put together by Golf Australia at the 10th edition of the Games.
Abraham had the 13th best total nett score of 210 out of 55 golfers over three rounds of stroke play in the 12 and under competition at Adelaide Shores and Mount Osmond Golf Clubs.
“Gary gets up and plays juniors on a Sunday and plays pennant, but he wasn’t really interested until he started to hit the ball well and got a bit stronger,” Abraham said before the Games.
“He’s 12 now and he won the under 14 state championships the other day, yeah he did well, and he plays in the men’s club as well.”
The Abrahams live in Kenwick, Western Australia and older brother Ethan is also a golf talent and plays regularly with Gary, who already has a handicap of 15.6, at Gosnells Golf Club.
In July earlier this year, Gary won the overall stroke play competition at the NAIDOC Cup, while also taking home the B-Grade trophy, edging out his dad who won the A-Grade, for the top prize.
Abraham senior had a seven-year career in the AFL playing 110 games and kicking 159 goals as an exciting half forward that played for Fremantle and the Kangaroos.
He won a premiership with the Kangaroos in 1999 before a serious knee injury prematurely ended his career in 2001 after a freak collision with Essendon star James Hird.
“My uncle was playing and because I had a knee injury I started playing golf and I wasn’t that good then, but I got down to five (handicap), play off seven at the moment,” Abraham explained.
“I was born in the ‘70s and grew up watching the Krakouer brothers and those sort of guys, I never really played any other sports just footy, a bit of basketball.
“If I had a chance to play this game (golf) as a young fella, it would have been a game I could have played I reckon.
“Not many Aboriginal kids play golf, but their hand-eye coordination is very good, and Ethan in particular has just picked it up so quick.”
Gary’s mother Katrina was at the Games watching and supporting her son against some of the best young golfers in Australia and countries in the Pacific region.
Along with his brother, Gary follows the sport closely looking up to golf superstars like Rory McIlroy and local players like Min Woo Lee and Brett Rumford.
Ethan is 17 and has been playing golf for just three years getting his handicap down to 1.8 while training at a golf academy, looking to earn a scholarship at a college in the United States
“It would be a big opportunity,” Abraham said.
“In our culture, there’s not many people that go and do golf, or go to college overseas for sport.
“I’ve noticed a lot of indigenous kids are doing really well in sport, so it is good to hear they have a few teams at the Games.”
The First Nation team include teams representing the indigenous community in golf, basketball and netball at the Pacific School Games.