It was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime, touring the great golf courses of Australia and New Zealand. But for four men from Texas – John Washburn, Glenn Garland, Russ Munsch and Greg Reynolds De Haven – it ended tragically when the Beechcraft Super King Air 200 on which they were traveling crashed shortly after take off from Essendon Airport in Melbourne, Australia, last Tuesday. The golf world mourns their passing and weeps for their wives, who had traveled with them Down Under – and who had decided not to make that side journey that day to King Island, which lies roughly 160 miles from the Victoria capital and is home to a celebrated Mike DeVries layout.
The crash also took the life of pilot Max Quartermain, who owned the charter company, Corporate and Leisure Travel.
I did not know the Americans who died in the crash. But I nonetheless felt a kinship to them and a deeper sense of loss when I discovered that Washburn, Garland and Munsch were fellow members of the Outpost Club, an old-school golf society based in the U.S. that caters to serious players who share a love of golf, appreciate interesting course architecture and enjoy nothing more than a good match with friends and a chance to experience the royal and ancient game all over the world.
While their trip to Australia and New Zealand was a private one and not affiliated in any way with the Outpost Club, it was just the sort of thing that we as OC members like to do, on our own or as part of an official club function. In fact, I have taken to the road with my clubs dozens of times over the years, for work and also for play.
But until I heard news of this plane crash, I never imagined such a journey could end so tragically.
RIP one and all.