Golf Aus­tralia

Inside Golf - - Inside the Industry - Stephen­pitt

THE fi­nal two months of 2011 are shap­ing up as a great time for golf in Aus­tralia with an im­pos­ing tour­na­ment line up sched­uled.

Even apart from the Pres­i­dent’s Cup, the list of play­ers that will tee it up is quite ex­tra­or­di­nary. The Aus­tralian Open will fea­ture at least three top 10 play­ers in the world in Dustin John­ston, Adam Scott and Jason Day along with Tiger Woods, Greg Nor­man, Fred Cou­ples, Bubba Wat­son and more.

Both the PGA and Masters will also have great fields and will be com­ple­mented by the cur­rent Open Cham­pion Dar­ren Clarke (PGA) and the cur­rent World num­ber one Luke Don­ald (Masters).

Our chal­lenge will be to cap­i­talise on this fo­cus on golf and there are sev­eral ways we in­tend to do this.

GA and the PGA are work­ing to­gether on a mar­ket­ing plan for the sport and there are some in­no­va­tive things be­ing im­ple­mented that will hope­fully re­sult in more peo­ple get­ting in­ter­ested in golf, play­ing more of­ten, get­ting lessons and join­ing clubs.

From GA’s per­spec­tive, the Pres­i­dent’s Cup and Aus­tralian Open also give us an op­por­tu­nity to showcase the game to key peo­ple in gov­ern­ment and demon­strate the in­ter­est in golf and the stan­dard of events we can hold in Aus­tralia.

The Aus­tralian Open re­mains very dear to GA and it is a tremen­dous cham­pi­onship in world golf and is one of the old­est Na­tional Opens in ex­is­tence. In fact only the (Bri­tish) Open Cham­pi­onship and the US Open are older than our cham­pi­onship.

Apart from be­ing one of the most his­toric cham­pi­onships in all of golf, our Open has per­haps the best hon­our rolls of all Na­tional Cham­pi­onships out­side of the US and Bri­tish ti­tles.

15 dif­fer­ent ma­jor cham­pi­ons have lifted the Stone­haven Cup, in­clud­ing the great­est play­ers of all time. Gary Player (7), Jack Nick­laus (6), Greg Nor­man (5), Peter Thomp­son (2), Arnold Palmer (1), Tom Wat­son (1) and Gene Sarazen (1) have all won Aus­tralian Open Cham­pi­onships.

The Aus­tralian Open be­longs to all the golfers of Aus­tralia, to the club mem­bers and am­a­teurs who, as Peter Thom­son so elo­quently de­scribed it, are the plasma of the game and Golf Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to do all in its power to en­sure club mem­bers recog­nise their con­nec­tion and own­er­ship.

The other ex­cit­ing up­com­ing events for GA are the Handa Se­nior Open in Perth, which gets stronger year on year, and the Handa Women’s Aus­tralian Open which is be­ing held in February 2012.

The Handa Women’s Aus­tralian Open is be­ing played on the Com­pos­ite Course at Royal Mel­bourne Golf Club, which is the first time a Women’s Aus­tralian Open has been held on that his­toric lay­out. In­ter­est from in­ter­na­tional play­ers is al­ready in­cred­i­bly high so I sus­pect we may end up get­ting the best field we’ve ever for this Cham­pi­onship.

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