THE 2009 Australian Veteran Golfers National Championship is shaping up as a spectacular event with organisers delighted with the interest shown by senior golfers.
The Bendigo Bank sponsored event will be held in Cairns from the 23rd to 28th August.
With Queensland the rostered state for the Championships this year, the Queensland Veteran Golfers Union had no hesitation in choosing tropical Cairns, the “city within a garden,” as the preferred venue for the prestigious event.
Tournament director Claud Clark said this week organisers were highly confident the ceiling of 360 male starters would be reached well in advance of the closing date of June 12th.
As of mid February there were 260 nominations already in hand for the men’s championships and applications were being received at an average of 45 a month. Doing the math, places are running out fast.
Claud said a Ladies Golf Classic being held at the same time for accompanying ladies was also proving to be a popular attraction and the 100 spots made available for this event were almost completely taken up.
“A strong contingent of Western Australians have entered and 59 men and 17 lady players will cross the continent by caravan, rail and air for the event. Further contacts with senior golfers from the West indicate a total of around 90 entries from that state is likely before the closing date,” Claud said.
This year, in what is believed to be a first, an overseas player will compete in the Championships. Peter Bailey, a 16 handicapper from Coringa Golf Club near Christchurch, New Zealand, will fly in with his wife Stella for the Tournament.
Current National Champion Richard Froebell of the Cranbourne Golf Club in Victoria is expected to enter and will join a quality field that includes former national titleholders Colin Angel from The Grange in S.A., Ken Madden from Merewether in NSW and Jake O’Donnell from Helensvale in Queensland.
Froebell and Angel are the only players to have won the Championship twice and they will be vying to become the first player to hold the title on three occasions.
Organisers chose to hold the championship in August because they say is the best time of year in the northern city with pleasant dry conditions, low humidity and an average daily maximum temperature of 27 degrees.
They also chose two of the best local courses on which to stage the event.
Half Moon Bay Golf Club is a scenic course with a backdrop of lush rainforest and it has one fairway only 30 metres from the Coral Sea. It is renowned for its abundant wildlife.
Cairns Golf Club is set against spectacular mountain scenery. The course features generous fairways and wide greens and is generally regarded as a friendly course but with the tees back and clever pin placements its mood changes and it has real bite for the unwary golfer.
Both courses will be set up to fully challenge the skills of the low handicap players, but on days when the C Graders and ladies are playing, the courses will be tweaked to make them testing but not as severe.
For those who holiday beyond the tournament, Festival Cairns begins on August 29 and attracts people from all over Australia to a three-week program of fun and festivities, food, wine, music, dance, entertainment, street parades and fireworks.
To be eligible for the championship male entrants must be aged 55 and be financial members of an affiliated Veteran Golfers Association and hold a current Golf Australia handicap. The maximum handicap for men is 36 and women 45.
The men’s championship is conducted as a 54 hole stroke event over three grades.
For further details and an accommodation guide see the Queensland Veteran Golfers Union brochure here. (4.29 MB)