Australian golf community rocked by devastating on-course tragedy

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Rod Gurney, pictured here on the golf course.
Rod Gurney died after a freak accident at Portarlington Golf Club. Image: Twitter

The Australian golf community has been rocked by the tragic death of 69-year-old Rod Gurney in a freak on-course accident.

Gurney died on Saturday just days after he was hit in the head by a golf ball during a competition at the Portarlington Golf Club in Victoria.

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The well-known club member was playing in the men’s competition on Tuesday when he was struck by a ball hit by one of his playing partners.

Gurney was treated by ambulance officers at the course and reportedly declined to go to hospital.

However his condition deteriorated over the next few days and he was taken to Geelong Hospital, before being transferred to the Alfred Hospital.

Members, pictured here playing at Portarlington Golf Club.
Members play at Portarlington Golf Club. Image: Portarlington Golf Club

Gurney's family announced the devastating news on Saturday that he had died.

“Rod was a dedicated family man who loved watching the Geelong Cats, playing golf and travelling in his caravan,” the statement read.

“Although this death was tragic and sudden we are heartened to know that he passed doing something he loved.

"As a family we understand that accidents happen during competitive sport and our hearts go out to his Portarlington golf mates and those who witnessed the incident.

“In the days before his passing Rod watched his beloved Cats win over Brisbane, played with his granddaughter and looked forward to his Tuesday game of golf.”

Shock and sadness over Rod Gurney's death

The Portarlington club also released a statement on Sunday.

“Sadly, his condition deteriorated through the week and, surrounded by family, he passed away peacefully on Saturday afternoon. Rod was 69," the statement said.

“PGC chief executive Michael Phillips remains in constant contact with the family to offer any support required.

“With the assistance of Golf Australia, the club’s immediate focus is to support the members and staff directly involved in the accident and provide counselling as required.”

PGC president John Bowman said members are devastated by the “tragic accident”.

“I knew him to have a hit with, to have a chat with occasionally,” he said.

“A wonderful retired bloke who enjoyed family and enjoyed his golf. He was very popular among a lot of the guys he played with.”

Club chief executive Michael Phillips said Mr Gurney’s family were “absolutely shocked”.

“It’s extremely difficult for them. It’s an absolute tragedy," he said.

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