Deans is a big hit on the course
MURWILLUMBAH golfer Chris Deans hopes to draw on his development from a self-funded training trip to North America when he competes in the NSW Country Championships in Queanbeyan this weekend.
Deans is a member of the five-man Northern Rivers team that will contest the individual and teams championships over 36 holes of what will be high-quality golf on Saturday and Sunday.
His teammates are fellow Murwillumbah players Warren Colefax and Nathan Baker, and Matt Crandell (Byron Bay) and Brad Oliss (Ocean Shores).
The three-member junior squad representing Northern Rivers down south are Coolangatta-Tweed Heads trio Jack Sullivan, Jack Hulyer and Jacob Tonkin.
Earlier this year Deans spent three months in Canada and the United States.
While there he trained and played in tournaments in both countries.
"It's the biggest trip I've saved for and planned and I performed well," Deans said.
"I had a couple of thirds and fourths at some courses in California and I feel I have come back a better player."
Forging deep friendships with American golfers was one of the highlights of his trip.
"They were really helpful and overly generous," Deans said.
"And they wanted to know what goes on in Australia."
None of them knew anything about Murwillumbah.
"They couldn't even pronounce it, so we started writing Gold Coast or Byron Bay on the entry forms," Deans said.
On the trip, the 25-year-old had a chance to walk around the famous Pebble Beach layout, his favourite course.
"It was surreal but I didn't get to play because it was $550 a round," Deans lamented.
"I'd love to play Pebble Beach."
Next year he just might get that chance.
"It's spurred my will to get back over there, so I'm going back over in June next year. As soon as I came back I started asking for big hours at work," he said.
Working in the pro shop at Murwillumbah Golf Club every morning means he can practise straight after work.
"I'm training with my coach every day, with a lot of short-game practice within 100 metres," Deans said.
He hopes his recent trip will help him to a top-three finish at the championships in Queanbeyan.