Nata­dola Bay A Tough But Fair Chal­lenge

Work­ing with Steve Lalor, course su­per­in­ten­dent at Nata­dola Bay Cham­pi­onship Golf Course, a num­ber of changes were im­ple­mented this year This week, the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia gen­eral man­ager Si­mon But­terly con­ducted the fi­nal in­spec­tion of Nat

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Fiji’s big­gest sport­ing event, the Fiji In­ter­na­tional, is fast ap­proach­ing and fi­nal prepa­ra­tions at Nata­dola Bay Cham­pi­onship Golf Course are well un­der­way.

With Fiji set to be­come the fo­cus of the golf­ing world on Oc­to­ber 6-9, the Fiji In­ter­na­tional team are work­ing hard to en­sure the tour­na­ment is some­thing Fiji can be proud of. This week, the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia gen­eral man­ager Si­mon But­terly con­ducted the fi­nal in­spec­tion of Nata­dola Bay Cham­pi­onship Golf Course. This is the last of a num­ber of vis­its the Tour con­duct through­out the year to en­sure the course is pre­pared to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. Work­ing with Steve Lalor, course su­per­in­ten­dent at Nata­dola Bay Cham­pi­onship Golf Course, a num­ber of changes were im­ple­mented this year.

But­terly’s visit was the fi­nal op­por­tu­nity to make sure these changes were on track to be ready for the tour­na­ment week. This year the course has ex­pe­ri­enced a lot more rain, 350ml to be ex­act, than in pre­vi­ous years. This will re­sult in a lot more growth, par­tic­u­larly in the rough. “This year we are clear­ing a lot of the veg­e­ta­tion along some of the fair­ways. The in­crease in rain will likely make the rough and veg­e­ta­tion thicker than what we have ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. Clear­ing it out helps make the course more playable and will also help with the speed of play,” But­terly said.

“Fiji in Oc­to­ber has a lim­ited amount of day­light and with 132 play­ers in the field, we need to make sure they all fin­ish their rounds be­fore it gets dark.” Also un­der­way is the shap­ing of the fair­ways and the cut­ting pro­gramme. But­terly is very happy with the work be­ing done by Lalor and his team. “I am very happy with how the course is pro­gress­ing. I think Steve and his team are on track to have Nata­dola Bay in the best con­di­tion we have seen it. The rain has re­ally helped, the course is def­i­nitely look­ing very green and lush.”

“The Fiji In­ter­na­tional at­tracts a huge in­ter­na­tional TV au­di­ence and the course is go­ing to look beau­ti­ful on the broad­cast. I think it’s some­thing that Fiji should be very proud of.” As for what the play­ers can ex­pect when they tee it up in the first round of the Fiji In­ter­na­tional, But­terly be­lieves it will be a fair chal­lenge. “The course will be a chal­lenge again this year. The rough will be thicker than last year but we are do­ing our best to en­sure it doesn’t grow too long. We want Nata­dola Bay to be a bal­anced chal­lenge,” But­terly said. “I think the lo­cal, Aussie and Kiwi play­ers who have played the course be­fore will have an ad­van­tage this year.

“Their course knowl­edge will def­i­nitely come into play. “We will have a lot of Euro­pean play­ers in the field and Amer­i­can Brandt Snedeker who have never seen Nata­dola Bay be­fore. That does make play­ing well a tough prospect, but not im­pos­si­ble. Matt Kuchar won the Fiji In­ter­na­tional last year in his first time play­ing the course.”

The Fiji In­ter­na­tional will be played at Nata­dola Bay Cham­pi­onship Golf Course on Oc­to­ber 6-9. Tick­ets can be pur­chased at the gate and chil­dren un­der the age of 18 are ad­mit­ted free when at­tend­ing with a pay­ing adult.

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Con­tact Fji In­ter­na­tional please visit fi­ji­in­ter­na­tional.com Source: Fiji In­ter­na­tional

Steve Lalor and the course 111. Photo: Fiji In­ter­na­tional

2015 Fiji In­ter­na­tional high­lights.

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