Golf lover returns to green after overcoming tragedy
MARCH 23, 2002 was a Thursday morning like any other for Paul Carlyon but on his drive to work his life changed forever in the blink of an eye. On a blind corner coming at him over double white lines was another car travelling at high speed.
There was nowhere to go and no time to swerve.
"I came out of a coma one month later," he said.
"I woke not remembering anything of the car crash that almost took my life." Carlyon had several operations as doctors struggled to save his life.
"I had my spleen removed and I had to have open-heart surgery to repair my aorta that was ruptured," he said.
"Then I had three brain bleeds and they (the doctors) went inside my head to repair something in there.
"They also took part of my brain away in the frontal lobe and I lost the use of my left arm."
Only in the past few months has Carlyon gone back to the golf course and built up the courage to have a go.
Playing golf from the age of four, Carlyon's passion for the game has never wavered.
Born in Mundubbera in 1969 he was always a happy face around the Mundubbera Golf Club as he grew up playing rounds with his dad, Graham.
"I started playing golf at a very young age and I took to it like a duck to water," he said.
"In my teenage years my passion turned to glory when I won several championships playing individually and in pairs and fours with my family."
Carlyon worked at the Golden Mile Orchards on irrigation for years and enjoyed the open spaces.
"We entered into a very severe drought and the river completely dried up," he said.
"No water, no irrigation and no job."
Carlyon quickly found work in Gladstone working in the Boyne smelter and he moved away from his family and friends to start a family of his own.
"Four days on and four days off, it was the best job I ever had working on the wharf loading ships at work and playing golf in my free time," he said.
"I had two children and a wife and pretty much everything a man could ask for.
"I was a member of the Gladstone Golf Club and then the Calliope Golf Club."
Now in 2015 Carlyon is back in the game that he so loved before he lost the use of his arm.
"I have had some really great rounds lately and every week my game is improving," he said.
"Before my accident I had a handicap of four. Four weeks ago I had a handicap of 36 because that's where everyone starts from.
"The following week my handicap was 30 then 23 and now I am down to 20.
"Last week I made birdie on the last hole and I was walkin' in sunshine."
A handicap of 20 made him C grade but he said B grade was not far away.