by Mitch Gaynor

WHILE they couldn’t fly home, at least they could drive. Six unlucky Japanese golfers, stranded in Queensland some 7,162 kilometres from home, were given a Christmas present to remember thanks to the Maleny Golf Club.

‘Royal Maleny’ was only too happy to host the stranded golfers for a Christmas Day round after COVID sunk their chance of getting home for the festive season.

Fumi, Kenji, Ken, Minoru, Masato and Kay Kawaguchi lauded the course and the club saying they could not have been more grateful for the “wonderful experience” they had on the day.

“Your golf club was truly royal and just stunning, that we easily fell in love,” the group said in an email to MGC Vice President Max Whitten.

While fog made play on the first few holes a little challenging, the rub of the green ultimately went the way of the group who said they could not wait to return.

“The hospitality Penny and yourself extended to us made our day,” they said.

“Although Covid has brought many obstacles in our lives, especially being separated from family and friends back in Japan, beautiful Christmas 2021 was something we could truly be thankful for.”

Max said he was more than happy to have helped host the group on the day.

“We were relieved that the weather was excellent for playing golf; even if you weren’t too sure where the first few holes were due to the early morning fog,” he wrote to the group.

“We appreciate that some of your team would have preferred to be back in Japan with family and friends for the holiday period but that COVID constraints made that difficult.

“However, we do hope, as second prize, you enjoyed the first part of your day here on the beautiful Maleny Golf Course.

“We hope to see you all again one day at ‘Royal Maleny’.”

The group are now safely back in Japan.