Georgia State golfer Josh Edgar had read about the fires that engulfed his Australian homeland. He had seen news footage of the devastation. But experiencing it himself when he went home for a visit of the Christmas break made it personal and prompted him to get involved, even though he’s 9,000 miles away.
“The day I landed, I’d never seen it like that before,” he said. “It was just a blanket of clouds. It was kind of shocking, coming home and seeing the air quality like that. It was a shock.”
After returning to Atlanta, Edgar remained troubled by what he left back home and was looking for a way to help. Georgia State coach Chad Wilson and assistant Nick Mackay – another Australia native – brainstormed with Edgar and came up with the idea to raise money through golf.
A unique fundraiser – approved by the NCAA – allows supporters to pledge a certain amount of money for each birdie Edgar makes during the team’s first three spring tournaments. There is no limit – large or small – on the pledge and all the money goes to benefit Rural Aid, Australia’s chief rural charity known for providing financial assistance, water and counseling for farmers dealing with fires and floods.
“This is just a way for him to give back to his country,” Wilson said.
Edgar is from Gold Coast, a coastal city about 40 miles south of Brisbane on the country’s far eastern coast. None of his family members had their lives directly altered by the fires, but everyone in the country has been impacted by the devastation, particularly the farmers. The fires affected an estimated 10,000 farms and 10 million farm animals. That’s why Edgar chose Rural Aid as the beneficiary.
“I just thought the farmers are going through it the hardest,” Edgar said. “So I wanted to give back to them, mainly.”
Edgar, a senior who plays in the No. 1 position for Georgia State, has done well in his first two events of the fundraiser. He made five birdies in the first round of the Puerto Rico Classic – a great start that was cut short when the final two rounds were rained out. Edgar made 10 birdies last weekend in the Tiger Classic in Auburn, where he finished tied for 14th.
“I started out with three birdies (in Puerto Rico), which I haven’t done before,” Edgar said. “I was just going there thinking about that that to be honest. It’s been really nice, playing for someone else. It takes your mind away from your own game and has a bigger purpose.”
Edgar’s final fundraising tournament is this weekend when the Panthers play in the Chris Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro.
“Hopefully we can get a few more birdies coming this week,” Edgar said.
Supporters may still donate to the cause contacting Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or contributing directly to RuralAid.org.au.
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