From the pitch, to the fairway

Dale Tormey in action for the Pakenham Premier XI. 205467 Picture: ROB CAREW

By sports editor Russell Bennett

Star Pakenham WGCA Premier skipper Dale Tormey is well used to tests of skill and stamina on the field in the summer heat.

But on Monday last week at Cranbourne’s highly-regarded Ranfurlie Golf Club – one of the highest-rated in Australia – his sporting talent was tested in a whole new way.

Alongside three of his mates, the 31-year-old put his golfing ability and mental strength to the test for ‘The Longest Day’ – to raise as much money as possible for the Cancer Council.

The initiative is simple, but the task is enormous – to play four complete rounds of golf (72 holes) between dawn and sundown.

“I’d always wanted to be involved in a charity fundraiser,” Tormey explained.

“I’ve seen a number of boys do it through their cricket, like Jordan Wyatt at Casey-South Melbourne, who’s done an amazing job with Mindfull Aus.

“My uncle is currently going through a tough time with cancer, I’ve also played cricket with a few boys who’ve gone through it, and unfortunately we lost one of those boys who was one of my first Premier Cricket captains (Ben Cookson, then at Hawthorn-Monash).”

Tormey, who las a long and distinguished career to his name in high levels of cricket – including the Victorian Premier scene, and Australian national junior titles prior to that – exploded on to the scene when he joined Pakenham in the WGCA.

In his first season with the Lions in West Gippsland’s top flight – 2018/19 – he clubbed 960 runs at a staggering average of 96, and followed that up last season with 952 runs at 79.33.

But in speaking to the Gazette, Tormey was coy on his golfing ability.

“I used to have the odd hit here and there, but I just chopped up the courses,” he said.

“A couple of years ago a couple of us at work just started having a hit, and then all of a sudden we are playing two to four times a week, with official handicaps and all that.”

Tormey may have undersold his golfing ability just slightly. Currently playing off 13, he’s hoping to get down to single figures.

In speaking about last week’s effort, the magnitude facing all golfers taking part in The Longest Day was obvious.

“I actually felt really good after the first round, (but) I think it was a completely different mindset going into it knowing we were going to be walking four rounds,” he said.

“Obviously it got harder and harder as the day went on, especially as the temperature was in the mid-30s and there’s hardly any shade at Ranfurlie.

“There wasn’t a breath of wind, either, which is strange for that course.

“It’s fair to say all four of us were a little delirious by the end of the fourth round and the banter had really dried up. It total we were around that 55,000 steps mark and 42 kilometres walked. So, essentially, we walked a marathon with some golf shots in between.”

Tormey and his team mates joked about taking part in The Longest Day last year, but this year stepped up to the mark and did it.

“We are already talking about doing it again next year, but I’ve suggested maybe a pitch and putt or not doing it in 36 degree heat!” he said with a laugh.

But for now, Tormey’s focus is back on the cricket – even though the golf clubs are still getting a workout.

“It’s definitely a love-hate relationship I have with golf,” he said.

Tormey returned to the course just three days after his team’s mammoth 72-hole effort.

“I hit them pretty well,” he said.

“But I’d told the boys I wouldn’t play again in 2020, and three days later I was back on the course!”

Tormey’s team has so far raised more than $2200 for the Cancer Council, with fundraising continuing through until 31 January.

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