2021 A GREAT YEAR AHEAD FOR AUSTRALIA’S SENIOR GOLFERS
2020 or the COVID-19 year was a dismal year for senior golf in Australia with many states in lockdown, borders closed and yet we managed to get some events played even though the state championships were mostly closed events. Many order of merits were cancelled and many events in most states were cancelled. Our national championship was not played due to the WA borders being closed for so long. It was meant to be played at Lake Karrinyup in October.
Here’s hoping that with vaccines starting to roll out across the world we can restart senior events around Australia. For overseas travel that is someway off, let’s hope we can get to play the Trans-Tasman trophy in July in Queensland. This maybe a big ask due to the tight border restrictions that regularly occur in Queensland. We are all hoping for a fantastic golfing year ahead and this report is written assuming all OOM will commence in 2021.
Again in 2021 there is a jam-packed calendar of events and courses available for Australia’s senior amateur golfers. Many of Australia’s top courses are included providing Australian senior golfers with the enviable task of choosing just which great course and event they will play.
The Australian Senior Order of Merit Competition
Now entering its sixteenth year, the Golf Australia Senior Order of Merit (GA OOM) will commence again for the 2021 calendar year.
The Golf Australia SOOM is primarily aimed at Australian based golfers who contest Australian events. It encourages participation among low-handicapped golfers and allows them to monitor their own development and form.
It is a competition that provides top-level golf for seniors who are ready to travel across the country to compete at the highest level. The 2021 calendar will include 18 events across every state and territory. As well as catering for the low handicapped golfers, Nett events are also run in conjunction with all events. It normally starts with the ACT championships in November 2020 but this event was cancelled in 2020. So the first event on the calendar will be the two Tasmanian events in February.
The 2021 Australian Senior Order of Merit Competition
In 2021, a ranking table based on averages will be calculated. Extract from GA Playing conditions.
“3.1 A player’s ranking will be determined by totalling all points gained from GA OOM events and dividing them by the total number of events played (points average per event).“
“3.2 The player with the highest points average; who has played in a minimum of 5 events, between 1 November 2020 and 31 October 2021 will be the winner of the 2021 GA OOM.”
For each event, it will be weighted according to the quality of the field entering the event. The Australian Senior Amateur Championship attracts a minimum weighting of Level 6 while all state events are a minimum of Level 3. Again, this level may be higher depending on the quality of the field entering the event.
Who can play in Senior Order of Merit Events?
You need to be 55 years or older on the first day of the event being played. While some of the events have handicap restrictions, most events are open to all senior golfers and with a generous handicap limit. All entry forms contain this information.
The Australian Senior Amateur at Glenelg SA, The National Masters (this event has moved from March 2021 to October 2021), The Victorian Seniors and the NSW Senior Classic are popular events and a handicap ballot may be required. The best policy for these events is to enter and wait to see if a ballot is needed. As many state associations have joined up with Golf Australia (TAS, VIC, QLD, NT, SA) the 2021 calendar of all events is: https://www.golf.org.au/events#/customer/1090/schedule/2021/10643,10656,10669,10682,10695,10708,10721,11349
NSW and WA senior events are located at the state association sites.
and WA :
How does the Senior Order of Merit work?
The Golf Australia website has full details on the Senior Order of Merit. While each SOOM event stands alone with prizes awarded in scratch, age and handicap divisions, SOOM points are also awarded to all players after the tournament.
The number of competitors from inside the top 20 and top 100 on the GA SOOM is used to calculate a tournament rating. A higher rating event means a higher number of points. The highest rated event is the Australian Senior Amateur with an automatic Level 6 rating with other events achieving a level 2, 3, 4 or 5.
A table of SOOM positions and current points is available on the AUSOOM website (http://www.bluesoom.com/) and Golf Australia website (https://www.dropbox.com/s/trfjjmyquhjxrai/GA%20National%20OOM%20%28Senior%29%20-%202021%20Terms.pdf?dl=0)
A list of documents explaining Golf Australia’s OOM conditions and selection criteria are located at https://www.golf.org.au/orderofmeritinfo/
When are the Senior Order of Merit ranking points used?
At the end of each SOOM year Golf Australia medals are awarded to those seniors in the top three positions in the overall scratch and the over 65 sections.
At different times during the year various national senior teams are selected using current and past rankings from the 2020 GA SOOM and 2021 GA SOOM as a basis for this selection. This may change for 2021, as the 2020 GA SOOM was cancelled. Selection criteria for all senior teams is located at:
The Sanctuary Cove Trophy
A 12-man Australian Senior team is selected every second year to play New Zealand for the Sanctuary Cove Trophy. This trophy will next be contested in July 2021 in Australia. Dates and venue are yet to be confirmed. The top 8 players from the current GA OOM are automatic while the next 4 players of the 12-man team will be selected by the GA Senior Selection committee.
Golf Australia covers the cost of a return economy airfare, twin-share accommodation, official functions, and other costs determined by Golf Australia. Minor costs are at the expense of the players (i.e. local transport, breakfasts and lunches.)
The Asia Pacific Seniors Championship
A six-man team to represent Australia in the 2021 Asia Pacific Championships will be selected 8 weeks before the 2021 Asia Pacific Championships. The date and venue is to be confirmed. Based on previous championships it should be in October or November 2021.This is dependant on overseas travel restrictions in 2021 due to the pandemic.
Golf Australia covers the following costs: return economy airfare, official accommodation, entry fee, and official functions. Other small costs are at the expense of the player (i.e. breakfasts, lunches, etc)
Golf Australia vs the Australian Defence Force
A 12-person Golf Australia Senior team will be selected for a match against the Australian Defence Forces Golf Association. The date and venue it to be confirmed by GA. Previously, selection in the team was based on the previous years GA OOM and selection should occur at the end of January 2021 (this may change due to the GA OOM 2020 being cancelled.)
Any senior who has represented in the previous Sanctuary Cove or Asia Pacific teams is ineligible. This policy ensures a wider range of senior golfers are rewarded with major team selection each year.
The selection criteria for 2021 are explained on the Golf Australia web site. In summary, the team will now include two mid amateurs (male and female), the leading senior female and nine senior males.
Golf Australia covers the cost of a return economy airfare for interstate players (TBC for 2021), two nights’ accommodation, official functions, and carts. Other minor costs are at the expense of the players (i.e. local transport, breakfasts and lunches.) Local players may choose to stay with the team. The date and location of the event is TBC.
How do I enter a National Ranking event?
Entry forms are always available on the AUSOOM website (www.bluesoom.com) and can also be found on Golf Australia and various state golf organisation’s web sites.
Although many of Australia’s best senior golfers will be competing you do not have to be a low marker to play and enjoy the competition and the friendships that will soon be made.
If you have thought about playing in one or more of these senior events, then why not make 2021 the year to put the plan into action.
What events are on in 2021?
The Golf Australia Senior 2021 calendar (QLD, VIC, SA, NT and TAS) can be found at: https://www.golf.org.au/events#/customer/1090/schedule/2021/10643,10656,10669,10682,10695,10708,10721,11349
GOLF NEW SOUTH WALES – Men’s Senior Order of Merit
Currently there is over 50 senior men’s events in the 2021 Golf NSW calendar. The Men’s Senior Order of Merit (SOOM) is open to male amateur golfers, aged 55 years and over, who hold a current Australian or overseas equivalent handicap. A selected number of nominated events make up the Men’s Senior Order of Merit. Each Men’s Senior Order of Merit event will have points allocated to participants, depending on their scratch and nett score and place in the event. There is also an over 65’s scratch and nett competition. The winner of the annual Men’s Senior Order of Merit will be the player who has accumulated the highest number of points from their best 14 results (points awarded) from the Men’s Senior Order of Merit listed events. The events are run by the individual host Clubs. The NSW 2021 calendar can be found at: https://www.golfgenius.com/ggid/wxhrpu/customerdirectory/5886879086491515594?season_id=6642833820552837717
Stinson shoots sub 60 at Links Shell Cove
Grahame Stinson (Links Shell Cove) is well known in the NSW senior amateur ranks as he plays in a few of the qualifying events for the NSW Senior Open which are held in in conjunction with several NSW SOOM events.
Playing off a GA of +2.4 and daily handicap of +4 at Links Shell Cove during his competition round at Links Shell Cove on Tuesday 22nd December 2020, Grahame fired an amazing round of 59 on the par 71 layout.
After talking to Grahame about his round this is what I found out. His previous best was 8 under at Links Shell Cove and he describes the course as quite gettable when there is no wind but when it blows across the coastal layout, you can easily shoot 90.
Grahame’s round of 59 is the lowest score recorded on the course and the course record does change a bit as the course is continually tweaked. Here are some stats on his round, Grahame hit 16 out of 18 greens and the two greens he missed the ball ended up on the fringe. In all of his 8 birdies and the one eagle he had putts all within 8 feet. His other eagle on the hardest hole on the course, 16, a par four, Grahame hit a drive into the fairway bunker which cuts across the dogleg leaving him with a shot of 127 m in which Grahame holed his 9 iron for his other eagle.
I asked Grahame how were the nerves during the round and he said he didn’t think too much about it until he was playing the 12 th hole. At that stage he thought “I am 6 under I have a chance to shoot 60 and beat my best which was 63.”
His first nine of 30, 5 under, was composed of 5 birdies and a run from the 5th hole to the 8th hole of consecutive birdies. So in his turn for home on the back nine he made 3 birdies and then finished off his round in style by going eagle on the par 4 16th after holing his 9 iron from 127m from the fairway pot.
I then said what happened on 17. Links Shell Cove has two par 5’s to finish and when you have a round like this going par 5’s generally offer chances of birdies. On 17 Grahame said “I hit a four iron for his second into a tight pin just behind the bunker. He was thinking well even from the bunker short I have a good chance of getting up and down for a birdie but his ball ended up plugged under the lip, so he had to settle for par 5 on 17. The 18th is a tough finishing par 5 but after a good drive Grahame managed to hit driver, gap wedge onto the green. At this stage Grahame said to his partner I can two putt here to break 60. Grahame’s partner then corrected him and said no, you need to 1 putt to break 60 so the nerves really kicked in here and Grahame managed to hole the putt for an eagle 3 and record his score of 59.
Grahame also told me in his next round on Saturday 26th December 2020, he shot 5 under and could not make any putts. What a strange game we play when things can change so much from one day to the next.
I also asked Grahame about the long drive championship that people talk about. “Well this happened in the 90’s when the golf show was run by Toyota and Grahame won the amateur section of this 3 years running. The event was run out of the old Homebush driving range” which now is the home of the AFL Giants team. “I won these events with a drive around 260 metres.” 260 metres is not that far compared to modern day standards but back then the ball and club technology was vastly inferior to today’s technology, so 260m possibly compares with around 300m plus these days.
I also asked Grahame how does the distance that he hits the ball now compare with the 80’s and 90’s and as expected he said “I hit the ball just as far now, so technology definitely helps.”
Grahame now joins the elite club of 2 players in our senior amateur ranks to break 60 and all in this COVID-19 year. The other player was Shane Floyd (Cromer) who shot 58 at Cromer in April 2020.
Watch out for Grahame Stinson when he turns 55 in May 2022 and he cannot wait to play some senior events.
GOLF VICTORIA – Men’s Senior Order of Merit
Doug Bachli Trophy (Gross)
The player that accrues the highest total of points for stroke performances in their best 12 senior events throughout the course of the year will win the Doug Bachli Trophy.
Paul Lulofs Trophy (Nett)
The player that accrues the highest total of points for nett performances in their best 12 senior events throughout the course of the year will win the Paul Lulofs Trophy.
The Victoria 2021 calendar can be found at: https://www.golf.org.au/events#/customer/1090/schedule/2021/10669
Lavender and Wall win the Victorian Senior Amateur Championship
James Lavender and Jane Wall have been crowned the 2020 Victorian Senior Amateur champions at Horsham Golf Club.
A separate report written by Kim Burke on the women’s championship will be included in Inside Golf.
The men’s championship went to a 6-hole playoff with James Lavender making a birdie on the fifth playoff hole to clinch the title. The pair were tied at the start of the day and as they turned for the back nine, Naismith led by four shots from Lavender and had victory in is sights.
A remarkable stretch of golf from Lavender was to come as he holed out of the greenside bunker on 13 for birdie, followed up by an 8-iron hole out for eagle on 15. The pair were level on the 18th tee and after two pars, they finished on one-under par after 54 holes and were set for a playoff.
It wasn’t until the fifth playoff hole that Lavender holed a 20-foot putt for a remarkable victory. “It is a great honour to win this event. After such a tough year it is such a great way to finish”, Lavender exclaimed. “Kevin deserved to win this just as much as I did. It was a fantastic battle”.
Shayne Walker finished the event strongly to round out the top three, eight shots behind the pair. Robert Richards triumphed over Peter Doyle on a countback after they finished on 211 to win the nett event.
A big thank you to Horsham Golf Club for hosting the event. The course was presented beautifully, and the players thoroughly enjoyed a fantastic event to round out the year.
Final Men’s results
212 James Lavender (70-69-73) and Kevin Naismith (68-71-73)
220 Shayne Walker (76-71-73), Greg Orvis (72-74-74) and Gordon Claney (72-74-74)
222 Greg Rhodes (73-75-74)
223 Gary Craco (76-74-73) and Kevin Sims (73-74-76)
Report from Golf Victoria
GOLF SOUTH AUSTRALIA – Men’s Senior Order of Merit
The South Australian SOOM events are open to all male golfers who are aged 55 years or above as at 8th February 2021 and who hold an official Golf Australia handicap (some handicap limits may apply). The SA SOOM events are stroke rounds divided into (over 55 years) and super seniors (over 65 years). The winner of both the over 55 years and over 65 years will be determined by aggregate points awarded over thirteen events. A players best eight events count towards the SA SOOM trophies. A points loading applies depending on if the event is a one, two or three round event. A minimum of eight events must be contested to be eligible to win either SA SOOM. All events have gross and nett winners and other prizes (depending on event) with a strong emphasis on the enjoyment of golf with fellow senior players. A nett stroke SA SOOM trophy will also be awarded. This to be awarded to the player accumulating the most points over the seasons thirteen events. The nett event will have a handicap limit of GA 24.4.
Blackwood bridesmaids no more!
At their 5th attempt in the final, Blackwood ended Tea Tree Gully’s 13-year winning streak in Division 1 of SA Senior Pennant. But it wasn’t easy and no-one with any knowledge of the long term rivalry between these two clubs would have expected it to be. A number of other clubs have also made it to a final against Tea Tree Gully and all have failed at the last hurdle; generally being in the contest for the first nine until the class and depth of the champions would prevail.
An inkling that this year might be different came when Blackwood beat Tea Tree Gully at Royal Adelaide in the minor round to finish on top but with Covid delaying the final until mid-December it was far from clear if finals would even go ahead.
Tea Tree Gully were without the services of their number one player in John Davey all – season (out with injury) whilst Blackwood were in similar circumstances without Chis Claxton, who stabilised their lower order. Tea Tre Gully were, however, still strong and had depth, so pundits identified that for Blackwood to prevail, their top 3 had to win and find one win somewhere else in their order.
This was the scenario that did eventuate but until after a titanic struggle. Craig Gordan established an early point for Tea Tree Gully and, in an indicator of what was to follow, Ken Brown beat Karri Heikkonen 1-up in a battle of the experienced campaigners. Andy Munn (1-up) got the first point for Blackwood before Mike Richards (1-up) grabbed another for the defending champions. Blackwood then made it 3-all with wins to Glen McGough and Nick Wake leaving Norm Cordina with a 2-up lead over Nigel Turner playing the par-3 16th. It was back to 1-up when Norm‘s effort to get up-and-down from the greenside bunker narrowly missed and back to square when Nigel took the 17th, yet another match being decided on the 18th.
Norm was in a greenside bunker in two and Nigel on the back of the green but facing a very slick downhill, down grain putt. Norm’s par attempt again just missed leaving Nigel with a 6-footer for the win which he started to celebrate half-way on its journey and history was made and Blackwood eventually had the big win they’ve chased for 14 years. It came down to a game of inches with, perhaps, neither player, or side, deserving to lose, it was a great contest.
Mention must be made of the amazing efforts of Tea Tree Gully since the inception of Senior Pennant in SA, 14 years of competition and 14 finals, a great sporting achievement indeed.
In Division 2, Glenelg defeated the semi-final giant-killers, South Lakes 6 & 1 and in Division 3, the strong Kooyonga side which only lost 1 game out of 49 for the season defeated Mt Osmond (6.5 to 0.5). Both these sides will now be promoted to their next respective Divisions in 2021.
Thanks must go to West Lakes Golf Club for hosting the final; in a (Covid) curtailed presentation, the winners of the SA Senior Order of Merit were given their awards:
Senior Gross and Combined Nett went to Steve Ross (South Lakes). To win both with a low handicap shows both not only great play but also great consistency.
Super Senior Gross winner was Mike Richards (Tea Tree Gully) – a 3-peat for this highly credentialed player.
SA report by John Anderson
The SA 2021 calendar can be found at: https://www.golf.org.au/events#/customer/1090/schedule/2021/10695
GOLF QUEENSLAND – Men’s Senior Order of Merit
The Queensland Senior Order of Merit will recognise performances for both scratch and nett (handicap reduced) scoring. A player’s final Queensland Senior Order of Merit points total for both scratch and nett will comprise all points accrued from his best eight performances in designated events during that calendar year. Once a player plays more than eight designated events, his worst performance (e.g. lowest points total from a designated event) drops off for each additional event he plays. The player that accrues the highest total of points for scratch performances in the designated events over the calendar year will win the Queensland Senior Order of Merit Trophy and shall also receive an individual trophy. The player that accrues the highest total of points for nett performances in designated events over the calendar year will win the Queensland Senior Order of Merit Handicap Trophy and shall also receive an individual trophy.
The 65 and over player that accrues the highest total of points for scratch performances in designated events over the calendar year will win the Queensland Senior Order of Merit 65 and over Trophy and shall also receive an individual trophy.
The QLD 2021 calendar can be found at: https://www.golf.org.au/events#/customer/1090/schedule/2021/10643
GOLF WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Men’s Senior Order of Merit
Thirteen events are included in the Senior Men’s Ranking System and players will receive ranking points for gross finishing positions in these events. Points allocated for each event will vary according to the category of the event. Most events are category three. The Western Australia Seniors and The Hartfield Seniors both are classified as category one events, which attract higher ranking points. Ranking points will only be allocated to the section of the event that is played as a stroke play competition.
The WA 2021 calendar can be found at: http://www.golfwa.org.au/cms/events/fixtures/
COMING SENIOR EVENTS
January 09 Glenmore Seniors (NSW)
January 11 Forster – Tuncurry Seniors (NSW)
January 11 Keysborough Senior Amateur (VIC)
January 12 Harrington Waters Seniors (NSW)
January 15 Palmer Colonial QSOOM (QLD)
January 18 Lake Macquarie Seniors (NSW)
January 19 The Coast Seniors (NSW)
January 20 St.Michaels Seniors (NSW)
January 25 Yarra Courses Senior Amateur (VIC)
February 01 Wynnum Seniors (QLD)
February 01 Wollongong Seniors (NSW)
February 03-05 Men’s Tasmanian Seniors – Mowbray GC (TAS)*
February 4-6 New Zealand Seniors – Christchurch GC (NZ)
February 08 Stonecutters Ridge Seniors (NSW)
February 08 South Australian SOOM Blackwood (SA)
February 15 Links Hope Island QSOOM (QLD)
February 16-17 Kooringal Senior Amateur (M&W – VIC)
February 22 South Australian SOOM South Lakes (SA)
February 22 Concord Seniors (NSW)
February 22 Arundel Hills QSOOM (QLD)
February 22-23 Cranbourne Senior Amateur (M&W – VIC)
February 25-27 Tasmanian Senior Open Amateur – Kingston Beach GC (M&W – TAS)*
March 01 South Australian SOOM Mt Osmond (SA)
March 01 Castle Hill Seniors (NSW)
March 02 Pennant Hills Seniors (NSW)
March 04-05 Eureka Senior Amateur (M&W – VIC)
March 05 Mt. Lawley Men’s Senior Open (WA)
March 08 Royal Sydney Invitational (NSW)
March 08-09 State Seniors 4BBB Championship (WA)
March 11-12 Alpine Senior Masters (M&W – VIC)
March (TBC) * Golf Australia vs ADFGA – (TBC)
March 15 Redcliffe QSOOM (QLD)
March 15 South Australian SOOM Tea Tree Gully (SA)
March 22 South Australian SOOM Thaxted (SA)
March 22 Royal Queensland QSOOM (QLD)
March 23 Sun City Senior Amateur Open (WA)
March 25-26 Hartfield Senior Open (WA) *
March 26 Lang Lang Senior Amateur (M&W – VIC)
March 27- 28 Laidley Mens Classic QSOOM (QLD)
March 29-31 Western Australian Senior Amateur (WA) TBC *
* events in the Australian Senior Men’s Order of Merit 2020
(M&W) Men and Women’s fields