Golfing brothers are two of a kind
TWO years and two strokes on their handicaps separate Lismore's champion golfing brothers Luke and Josh Ryan.
Both will be contenders when they tee off in the Northern Rivers District Golf Association championships at the Ballina Golf Club tomorrow.
They go into the biggest event on the local men's golf calendar full of confidence after becoming the first sibling combination to win the Lismore Workers Golf Club senior and junior championships in the same year.
Luke, 19, who plays off a handicap of two, blitzed the field in the final round to win the club championship last month by seven shots.
Younger brother Josh, 17, who also qualifies for A-grade with his four handicap, took out the junior championship.
Heading into the last round, Luke was tied for the lead while Josh was fourth overall, meaning they played the deciding 18 holes in the same group.
“Our whole family was there,” Luke said.
“We played it together and they were all there to congratulate us.
“We couldn't believe that we'd actually pulled it off, so it was a good feeling.”
While the district championship is a stand-alone tournament open to any golfer with an official handicap, it also encompasses a battle of the best from each club.
As Lismore champion, Luke will compete against the champions from 15 other clubs between Tweed and Yamba for the title of champion of champions - and the right to contest the NSW title in Sydney.
Come Sunday, the boys will be playing in separate groups and the bloke who knows their game best, Lismore club professional Peter Jaeger, said the course layout might favour Josh.
“They're both very, very good and there's a fair bit of sibling rivalry there too,” Jaeger said.
“Luke is great. He's very laidback.
“He's not your orthodox golfer. He tends to wind up and give it a fair rip.
“We all joke that when you play with him you only see him every 10 minutes. First on the tee, then on the green.
“He has a tendency to push wide on occasion but he has the power to recover. He's a very good ball striker, he hits it quite long but he also has a good short game.”
His brother plays more conservatively.
“Josh is probably more consistent,” Jaeger said.
“He hits it a fair bit straighter than Luke.
“He doesn't have the power of Luke but he is certainly a lot more accurate.
“Obviously, Luke is going to have to hit it accurately with Ballina being a tight track, but Josh is a fair chance.”
One thing the boys have in common is a love of golf, and they spend every spare minute on the course.
With family living around the corner, Luke working at Spar Supermarket in Wyrallah Road, and Josh a greenkeeper at sister club Lismore Workers Heights Bowling Club, they never have far to travel for a hit.