Jimmy is king of the kids

Jimmy Douris
Jimmy Douris and Josie O’Brien

The juniors at Noosa Golf Club don’t fully understand the rocky road Jimmy Douris navigated six years ago while on the verge of a PGA career in the United States. And at the moment they don’t really care.

The kids – and there are plenty of them – are simply rapt to have the 37-year-old head teaching pro as their coach. But not only are they lucky to have him as their coach, Jimmy is lucky to be alive.

Back in 2012, while competing in a tournament in the US, he woke with a swollen neck. Initially the ailment was prescribed as an infection, but ultimately was diagnosed as lymphoma.

Within days he was back in Noosa, where he was born, schooled and played his junior golf with Steven Bowditch and Katherine Hull. Chemotherapy at first failed, but a second round, combined with bone marrow transplant, did the trick.

Jimmy is now cancer-free and while resuming a playing career remains on the backburner, he is living life like never before – teaching kids the game he loves so much.

“I am enjoying every minute of it,” says Jimmy, who tutors a dozen of the club’s leading juniors six days a week.

“To see the improvement in the kids and watch them develop into confident young men and women is just so rewarding. In today’s society we hear so much negativity about kids, but I have only praise for the bunch we have at Noosa Golf Club.”

But it seems the Noosa juniors are not just well-behaved and respectful. Last year, for the first time in more than 30 years, they won the Sunshine Coast Golf Zone Pennants.

Although Jimmy was loath to single out any of the juniors, 16-year-old George Giblet is obviously destined for big things. A recent winner of the Sunshine Coast Invincibles Junior Masters – which game him a world amateur ranking – Giblet is currently assessing offers to attend college in the US when he finishes grade 12 next year.

Among the other head turners are Cooper Clarke (one handicap), Taj Egea (11, playing off nine) 12-year-old Brendan O’Brien, whose handicap is 10, and his 14-year-old sister Josie, who Jimmy says ‘hits it further than most men’.

But the coach deflects much of the praise aimed his way, preferring to heap adulation on Terry Price, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia. Now coaching out of Sanctuary Cove, Price visits Noosa monthly and helps teach the juniors - at no cost.

“Terry has been my coach for many years and he is an unbelievable teacher,” says Jimmy.
“I have learned so much from him and the kids can’t wait for his visits. He is so generous with his time and his advice, and our juniors are so lucky to have him.”

And while Jimmy may have had luck on his side when he dodged cancer six years ago, that wasn’t the only life lesson he was taught. While he was ill he lost both his mum and dad – within 12 months.

“My dad passed first, and when my mum died I was alone and not wanting to do too much, especially play golf,” he recalled.

“But I needed to pay bills, so I started teaching again which helped me switch off from the suffering of watching my parents die horrible deaths. It helped change my perspective, and ultimately my life.”

And what gives him the most satisfaction from coaching?

“I get the most enjoyment seeing the kids’ faces when they hit shots they never thought they could hit,” he says.
 

14 September 2018
10 August 2018
03 December 2017
Queensland Golf