Golf Australia announces big shakeup of national amateur events: Senior men’s and women’s championships to be staged together

Current Australian Women’s Senior Amateur Champion Sue Wooster

GOLF AUSTRALIA has announced some major changes to its national amateur events in a move that may ruffle some feathers but is ultimately seen as beneficial on many levels.

The Australian Men’s Senior Amateur Championship and the Australian Women’s Senior Amateur Championship are two of the events affected with Golf Australia (GA) saying they will be played concurrently at the same venue from 2021.

The move will mean a reduction in field size for both events and end the long held tradition in the women’s championship of the early rounds being played as strokeplay qualifying with the winner decided in final round elimination matchplay.     

GA acknowledged the tradition of these championships, but said change was required to modernise and align all events.

GA announced Tuedsay the first joint senior championship would be held at Glenelg Golf Club in South Australia on 20-22 October 2021.

It said “The Australian Senior Amateur Championship for men and women” will be played concurrently over 54 holes of stroke play at one venue with no cut. The field size will be 156 players, comprising 105 men and 51 women.

That leaves the last separate senior championships currently scheduled a few weeks apart in October this year, with the men due to play at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in WA from 13/10/2020 – 15/10/2020, and the women at Launceston Golf Club in Tasmania from 26/10/2020 – 30/10/2020. (Couldn’t be much further apart). Due to Covid both events are on a watch and review basis.

In a memo issued on Tuesday to senior golfers about the reorganisation, GA General Manager – Golf Operations, Simon Brookhouse, said:    

“In line with all events listed [below], the Australian Senior Amateur Championship will no longer be an anomaly whereby men and women previously played at different courses and times. The move celebrates both genders equitably and enhances resource allocation for improved event presentation and coverage.

Just as for the Australian Amateur Championship, the best senior players should be able to compete. As such, a range of exemptions will be considered as part of the entry process. These include recognition and support for existing state championships and other senior OOM events held around Australia.

We understand the current gender composition of each field is not equal. It is GA’s strong medium-term intention to ensure such equality and we will actively work towards achieving this goal in line with our vision and strategic pillars. But symptomatic of the current percentage of female club membership nationally, the current male-female ratios within each tournament reflect another objective – to maintain the high level of competition associated with national championships. As female membership grows, so too, will the percentage of women and girls in our championship fields.”

Details of other GA national events involved

Australian Amateur Championship

• Format: 72-hole stroke play with a cut after 36 holes
• Field size: 105 men and 51 women
• Venue: one host club
• Note: Reduction in field size accommodates all players at one venue, along with the change from multiple rounds of match play to 72-hole stroke play.

Australian Junior Championship

• Format: 72-hole stroke play with a cut after 54 holes
• Field size: 105 boys and 51 girls
• Venue: one host club
• Note: Alignment of previously separate championships and reduction in field size to accommodate all players at one venue, along with the introduction of a 54-hole cut to afford juniors greater playing opportunity.

Australian Mid-Amateur Championship

• Format: 54-hole stroke play
• Field size: 105 men and 51 women
• Venue: one host club
• Note: Field size has been adjusted for consistency with other national championships.

Australian Interstate Teams Matches

• Format: round-robin team match play
• Team size: 4 men and 4 women
• Venue: one host club
• Note: Alignment of previously separate teams matches at one venue and restructuring of one team encompassing both genders.

Australian Junior Interstate Teams Matches

• Format: round-robin team match play
• Team size: 4 boys and 4 girls (3 boys and 3 girls to play each round)
• Venue: one host club
• Note: Alignment of previously separate teams matches at one venue and restructuring of one team encompassing both genders.

 

Brookhouse said GA acknowledges the tradition of these championships, but change is required to ensure:

  • the best possible host venues are engaged;
  • that events are conducted with the greatest efficiency and are financially viable;
  • the level of competition remains at a high standard; and
    that, whenever practical, men’s and women’s championships are concurrent to showcase golf’s inclusive nature.

Brookhouse, who regrettably confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 national Order of Merit because of the Covid-19 crisis, said a rare upside of the pandemic was that it had inadvertently presented the perfect time to implement the changes, which were fully endorsed by the GA board.

Brookhouse said the decision to cancel the 2020 Order of Merit seasons had been tough.

“But with the season set to end on 31 October, the ongoing uncertainty of border closures has made it difficult for players to travel interstate to compete,” he said.

“Events on the national Order of Merit calendar can still proceed where permitted, but points will not be allocated to players.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Really great changes that should be most beneficial in reducing participation levels and at the same time help GA reduce their costs ( wastage )
    Another great move forward by GA

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