LADIES GOLF: Trudi Petrie competing in the Bargara Ladies Classic.
LADIES GOLF: Trudi Petrie competing in the Bargara Ladies Classic. Mike Knott BUN111016GOLF5

Trudi proves driving force on Rocky's fairways

GOLF: The name Trudi Petrie appears frequently on the honour boards at the Rockhampton Golf Club.

It has been inscribed there yet again after the former professional golfer enjoyed another stellar year on the city's course in 2016.

Trudi won the women's club championship for the fifth time in the past seven years and also shot to victory in the open championship for the seventh time in eight years.

Her success did not stop there, with the scratch marker winning every major tournament she contested in 2016.

She also claimed the foursomes championship with Issie McDonald, two match play finals (one with McDonald, the other with Julie Blair) and the Bargara Ladies Classic with an incredible 17-stroke winning margin.

"I've won a lot of championships over the years but it's always nice to win. It's nice to be known as the champion,” Trudi said.

"I've had a long career in golf; I've been playing since I was 11 years old and I turned 47 last week.”

Trudi (nee Jeffrey) started playing golf in her home town of Dirrinbandi in south-west Queensland.

Her parents were both keen golfers (her dad won the club championship there 11 times) so it was no great surprise that she quickly found her groove in the game.

"We had a property out there and mum and dad used to play golf on the weekends,” she said.

"There was no such thing as babysitters in those days so I'd just go along with them to golf. That's basically how I got into the game.”

A young Trudi and her family then moved to Gympie. It was from here that she made the Queensland junior and senior teams and was coached by the the legendary Charlie Earp.

Then came the two biggest wins of her career - the New Zealand Junior Championship at age 18 in 1988 and the Australian Junior Championship two years later.

Trudi turned pro that same year and spent the next 10 years playing the circuit in Japan, Europe and the United States.

She then made a dramatic career change and spent five years in the Australian Defence Force.

She married Jim Petrie in 2007 and made the move to Rockhampton several years later, where the couple welcomed their first child.

She soon found her way onto the fairways of the city's course and so began the impressive run of victories.

While clearly blessed with natural talent, Trudi said there was plenty of hard work behind her success.

"In golf there's no short cuts to becoming good. I did lots and lots of practice,” she said.

"I spent many hours on my own hitting thousands of golf balls.

"With golf, you either love it or you don't - there's no in between.

"It's a challenge - it's just you, the game and the golf course.”

Trudi said she did not take the game as seriously as she once did - and had to - when she was forging a career out of it.

"It's more of a hobby for me now, but it's always nice to go out and play well,” Trudi said.

"I will probably be winding back a little bit this year. My son is seven now and I'm hoping to find full-time work.

"That is how things go - priorities change,” she said.