Although he has always been totally focused on where he wants his golf to take him, newly-crowned Brisbane Golf Club Champion Louis Dobbelaar says a visit to the US in October of 2018 was the eye-opener that reinforced his ambition.
Along with fellow Queenslander Jed Morgan, Louis was awarded the prestigious annual Cameron Smith Scholarship, which enabled the pair to spend an all-expenses paid week at TPC Sawgrass in the company of the two-time Australian PGA Champion.
And according to Louis, who had just completed his schooling at the time of the visit, the week in the company of Cam Smith opened his eyes to what hopefully lies ahead.
“Cameron made it so easy for us to realise that in reality, we were no different to where he was a few years ago,” he said.
“Obviously he gave us an insight into many aspects of playing on the US PGA Tour, which of course was fascinating. But what he stressed to us that we had all come from the same place, and through the same systems.
“His encouragement, and his confidence in our ability, was a real eye-opener. He most certainly made me believe in myself 100 per cent.”
In launching the scholarship for budding Queensland golfers, Smith said he would have loved the opportunity to experience just a little of the PGA Tour atmosphere before he launched his international career.
“When I first came to the US and was trying out, I had no mates and really no-one to lean on or learn from,” he said.
“It was a really tough time, and I’m glad I am now in a position where I can help these young guys.”
Louis, who described Cameron as a ‘really driven bloke’, described the experience as incredible and said he is well aware of the challenges his pathway to the top holds for him. And, following an extended break from the game shortly after his return from the US, he also understands that pathway will not necessarily be a straight-forward one. He underwent elbow surgery at the end of 2018, which resulted in a seven-month hiatus without golf.
Suffering from Osteochondritis Dissecans, a condition in which bone underneath the cartilage of the elbow joint dies due to lack of blood flow, Louis had no choice but to have surgery and go through the lengthy rehab process.
He says the time away from the game has made his hungrier to achieve his goal which, ultimately, is to follow Cameron Smith to the US PGA Tour. But at 18, he still has much more to achieve as an amateur and a second Brisbane Golf Club Championship is at the top of that list. – TONY DURKIN