Promising golfer Josh Holbrook has done away with video games and returned to the golf course.
Promising golfer Josh Holbrook has done away with video games and returned to the golf course. John McCutcheon

Fortnite can't win against 15yo's golf dreams

TIGER Woods earned the accolades and admiration of golfers and sports lovers worldwide when he emerged from a career-threatening back injury to win his fifth US Masters golf title back in April.

But more importantly for a Sunshine Coast family, Tiger's headline-grabbing victory drew their 15-year-old son away from the computer screen and back to the golf course where he had once shown signs of maybe emulating the feats of Tiger, who has won 81 PGA events.

Sienna Catholic College Year 10 student Josh Holbrook started golf when he was 10, and within two years was playing off a handicap of 14. In 2015, as a member of Headland Golf Club's Junior Pennant team, he was named Sunshine Coast Golf Zone Junior Pennant player of the year.

Then, a trendy video game named Fortnite intervened. Josh abruptly lost interest not only in golf, but the other sports he was playing. He estimates that for almost two years he would spend up to three hours a day playing the game.

"We were at a loss to know what to do," says his dad, Jamie, a local real estate agent who regularly beat Adam Scott when they were junior golfers at Twin Waters.

"His mum (Agi) and I knew it wasn't healthy for him to be cooped up in his room playing this game, but as other parents can attest, it is not as easy as saying 'don't play it'. We thought 'well at least he is at home, not out on the streets'."

Finally, the penny dropped for Josh when he was convinced by his dad to join him watching the 2019 Masters from Augusta. So transfixed was Josh by the tournament, and the stunning victory by Tiger, it was the catalyst for him to again fall in love with golf.

"I had become obsessed with Fortnite - I realise that now," Josh said.

"As I watched the Masters, and particularly the way Tiger played, I realised how much I had missed playing golf.

"I also thought about how much better I would have been now, had I spent those three hours a day practising."

Josh is certainly back in the swing. Playing off his new handicap of 17, he won the Junior May Monthly Medal two weekends ago and he and his dad won a four-ball competition at Headland, with Josh contributing 28 of their 45 points.

This weekend, he'll contest the first two rounds of the Headland Club Championships.

"It is just wonderful to have him back. His mum and I are ecstatic," Jamie said. "A morning on the golf course ... is heaps more productive than four hours of playing Fortnite."



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