More encouragement for top Australian male “Super Senior” Golfers (65+) and the introduction of a National Order of Merit for Australia’s senior women amateur golfers are among recently announced changes to the sport.
The men’s Order of Merit competition has been expanded to include a full set of medals for the 65 and over players and medals will now be awarded to the top three golfers in this age group.
In addition, a Super Senior Matchplay Championship for the over 65 group will be played at the same time as the Australian Senior Matchplay Championship. A field of 8 players will contest the event in 2009 which will be played at Barwon Heads Golf Club.
Among other changes Golf Australia announced for new Australian Amateur Ranking Systems was the introduction of a National Order of Merit for Australia’s senior women amateur golfers.
The system used for this competition will be the same as that for senior men, with every event played used in calculating an average points score. The minimum divisor for senior women in this introductory year is 4 events.
The first event recorded was the 2008 ACT Senior Women’s Championship and the current leader in the Women’s Order of Merit is Liz Smyth from the Royal Canberra Golf Club. She leads from Nicky Moon from Federal Golf Club and Chris Taylor also from Royal Canberra.
Golf Australia says new Amateur Ranking Systems now underway will provide players, as well as the industry, a great opportunity to monitor the movements in the standings across all age groups at the peak of men’s and women’s amateur golf.
For 2009, Australian Amateur Ranking Systems will be conducted in six categories – open men and women, boys’ and girls’ and senior men and senior women (55+).
The player with the highest points average at 31 October 2009 will be recognised as the winner of their respective Ranking System.
The Australian Amateur Ranking Systems are provided as a service to Australian golf as well as to achieve the following objectives:
• To replace the use of handicaps as the primary entry standard for national amateur championships. This will provide a fairer and better outcome for players, and Golf Australia encourages all other domestic operators of elite amateur events to consider adopting the same improved procedure.
• To be used as a supporting tool for team selection.
• To increase participation in the events which count towards a player’s Ranking Average.
Each System will be points-based, and will operate over a 12-month rolling period. All National Championships and each State’s Amateur Championships in the respective Systems will count towards a player’s average, in addition to various other major events nominated by the States, including those which have been National Ranking Events in the past.
Players’ points are determined by their finishing positions in each event and the events themselves will be weighted with the events traditionally attracting the strongest fields being awarded the most points.
Golf Australia says the Systems are sure to be highly competitive and will provide vast interest for amateur golfers of all ages and genders, in particular Girls’ and Senior Women where previously there has been no similar ranking system operating.
The Karrie Webb Series will continue to operate in conjunction with the Women’s Open Ranking System.