Return of pro-am to reflect rebound
Horsham Golf Club will reach a profound milestone next year when it presents its first proam tournament since its devastation from 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
The club, which has been in a longtime rebuilding phase since the disaster stripped its 18-hole nationally rated sand-belt course of its clubhouse and vegetation, has pencilled in a golf spectacular for the first weekend of October.
President Leo Delahunty confirmed last night the club was in the process of preparing to inform members of plans for a huge weekend of golf that might combine a pro-am with other golfing attractions.
He added a major warm-up for the event might well occur from March 16 to 18, with the club also preparing for a new Horsham International Classic, a pro-am ambrose event that would provide visiting professionals a sneak preview of the course.
“We’re very much in the early stages and need to lock many things down to make it all a reality, but at this stage 2018 appears to be a big year for golf in Horsham,” he said.
“If it evolves the way we hope, it will go a long way in the reaffirma- tion of the high regard that Horsham Golf Club is held by people across the country. The plan is to attract some big names and rising talent in the sport to mix with Wimmera golfers.”
Mr Delahunty agreed the Horsham course had developed a different ‘personality’ from the past, when giant pine trees lined the fairways.
“Yes it is different but it is just as outstanding,” he said.
“During the time of the fire it was clearly devastating to lose all those trees and the clubhouse, but now we have something that is again excellent.
“There is no question about the quality of the track and the reality is again that this region has something fantastic that many other regions can only wish for.”
Mr Delahunty said the club’s new board, which had its first meeting last week, was ‘a good mix with plenty of younger faces’.
“We’re having a strategic planning session in three weeks where we will meet with people with experience and expertise in golf management,” he said.
“We’re quite looking forward to that and are committed to keeping our members informed of everything we do.”
During Black Saturday almost nine years ago, a 1242-hectare fire that started at Vectis tracked south-west of Horsham and swept through Haven.
The blaze engulfed the Horsham course as well as 13 houses.
It left the course, which had been renowned as much for its park-like environment and wildlife as its testing fairways, into a barren and blackened landscape.
It also presented a huge rebuilding challenge and left many wondering whether the course could ever recover to a stage where the club could again comfortably invite high-profile players and professionals for tournaments and competitions.