The June 2023 Australian Golf Demo Date Listings are now online, featuring upcoming Demo Days and Fitting Days to check out the top new golf gear at an Australian golf club near you!
The post Golf Fitting and Demo Days – June 2023 first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
The May 2023 issue of Inside Golf is online for your reading pleasure.
MOVING UP TO A MAJOR
David Micheluzzi will take his game to the World Stage in 2024, but before that he’s been guaranteed a start in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool
SHOULD GOLF CLUBS SCHEDULE MORE NINE-HOLE COMPS?
Four iconic Melbourne clubs celebrate a significant milestone
Cricket great Greg Chappell
GREAT GOLF GETAWAYS
The best Aussie courses and destinations for a golf trip
RESORT OF THE MONTH
Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort
The post May 2023 Issue of Inside Golf is Online first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
Golf club boss takes affiliation fee fight to Golf Australia
HIGH profile owner of The Dunes Golf Links, Duncan Andrews, has launched a stinging attack on golf’s national governing body, Golf Australia (GA).
“As part of the golf system in Australia, The Dunes pays to Golf Australia a hefty annual fee and a further annual fee to Golf Peninsula Victoria (GPV),” Andrews railed in The Dunes’ latest newsletter to members.
“PGV is part of GA. It is a bit hard to avoid these fees because Golf Australia controls the handicapping system.
“In aggregate, the fee paid to Golf Australia and its affiliates by The Dunes Golf Club will be between $55,000 and $60,000 in 2023. The amount will vary depending on the number of members.
“Members might well ask what do they receive for this? However, before we try to answer this very reasonable question, we would also point out that:
“The fee is charged for each member at every club where they are a member. Many golfers have two memberships, some have three memberships, and Golf Australia hits them every time. Quite outrageous really.
“Golf Australia and company like to claim they promote women’s and junior golf. Maybe they do, but it is hardly fair or reasonable that courses like The Dunes heavily discount junior membership to encourage juniors ($175 per annum) and GA takes over 40 per cent of this amount in affiliation fees. This fee might be supporting the GA bureaucrats but it is not supporting junior development.”
Andrews continued off the long run.
“What makes it more insulting is that you, as a member of a club, pay this fee but if you were a regular golfer, but not a member, (and there are plenty of these) you then pay nothing!
“That’s right, zip! How is this reasonable?”
Andrews said that “the bottom line is that the golf system in Australia has reached its use-by-date and is in desperate need of an overhaul”.
“The bottom line is that the golf system in Australia has reached its use-by-date and is in desperate need of an overhaul.”
Andrews asked members: ‘So what do you, as members of a golf club, receive for these fees we pay on your behalf to Golf Australia?
“Handicapping, the Rules of Golf and insurance. They (also) look after the Australian Open and coordinate other golf tournaments. Otherwise, precious little.
“I invite you to look at their (Golf Australia’s) website. Full of words and well meaning, but do we at The Dunes receive adequate value or does Royal Sydney, allegedly paying around $500,000 per annum with its huge membership, or Royal Melbourne, think they get their monies worth?
“I can say with some confidence that they don’t.
“Down at their new recently built taxpayer funded headquarters at Sandringham Golf Club there seems a multitude of people all staring at computer screens.
“The first instinctive reaction from everyone I have spoken to is, ‘what the hell do they all do?’
“Given what we see from Golf Australia at The Dunes, the answer is not much, or at least not enough.
Golf Australia and Golf Peninsula Victoria seem very comfortable that they can spend our money better than we can. Does this remind you of some people in Canberra?
“Both organisations need to be reminded that their role is to service golfers and clubs – not the other way round.”
Meanwhile, Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland responded by saying: “Golf Australia’s primary responsibility is to protect and grow the game in this country, delivering on the direction set in the Australian Golf Strategy 2022-2025 which was developed through an unprecedented industry-wide collaboration.
“In a highly competitive sport and entertainment industry, our sport continues to evolve.
“The digital age creates its own challenges and opportunities, and whilst we appreciate there will be different views on the work we do, we will continue to do everything we can to support our membership and ensure golf’s sustainable future as a sport for all in modern day Australian society.”
FOOTNOTE: Golf Australia boss James Sutherland has more to say on this matter. To view his column go to www.insidegolf.com.au/news/golf-australia/ga-making-the-game-of-golf-modern-and-progressive/
The post Is it money well spent? first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
BUNKER-TO-BUNKER… Inside Golf writers have their say!
By Michael Davis
I DON’T think you have to be a member of Mensa to overwhelmingly acknowledge that scheduling more nine-hole competitions would prove to be a boon for golfers and golf clubs alike. For a plethora of reasons, everyone seems to have less time on their hands these days.
Most of being time poor relates to work and family commitments despite the fact that the work force largely operates from home post-pandemic. This obviates the need to travel to and from work which frees up more time for family, entertainment and leisure.
Yet the (minimum) four hours plus if takes to play 18 holes is just far too big a juggle for people wanting to have a friendly game, let alone play in a club competition. I reckon you could add another 30 minutes to a round when the opportunity arises to have your name on the honourboard or even in the club newsletter.
Those steeped in the tradition of the game will argue the game should always be played over 18 holes. And I can see where they are coming from. But it is better to have people on the course for a couple of hours than deny them the opportunity to experience the joy of club competition. In my view it takes the game to a new level of satisfaction no matter what standard you play.
Even putting aside the competition aspect of the game, nine holes may well be the way of the future as many clubs create immaculate par-3 short courses to cater for this burgeoning market opportunity.
By Michael Court
OH great! That’s just terrific … NOT!
The next thing they’ll be making bottles of scotch with only nine nips in them instead of 18.
Everything else we buy these days seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Surely golf cannot head that way too. So, I’m sorry, but it’s not on. Nine-hole golf. You’ve got to be kidding me.
For starters, it takes me about nine holes before I actually hit my first decent shot … and I’m not kidding.
You may as well just play social golf. Or worse still, go to the driving range and hit balls.
That way, when you hit one thin or slice it OB, you can just shrug and drop another ball and hit it just as badly – as I always seem to do when I head for the driving range.
Seriously, if you’re time-poor go play tennis or that silly game they seem to love in Queensland these days – pickleball.
Golf is an 18-hole game folks. And if you only play on a nine-hole course then go around twice, if you have to.
We’ve tried playing nine-hole ‘chicken runs’ at our club over the years and there are always a few that turn up for a quick hit.
Yet I don’t regard them as serious golfers. Never have. And when they turn up for 18 holes once a year, I ask them where they’ve been.
‘Working’ … well, spare me the tears. We play golf to escape from that so I’m not keen to get it over with that quickly.
By Peter Owen
WHEN T20 cricket was first mooted the traditionalists wailed that it was the end of the game, that only Test cricket mattered, and that the fad would soon pass. Well, clearly, they were wrong since T20 has subsequently become the most popular form of cricket worldwide.
The same would not be the case if golf clubs scheduled a greater number of nine-hole member competitions. There’s a sufficient number of members who love 18-hole events – and have the time to devote to them – to ensure that four-and-a-half-hour competition rounds will continue indefinitely.
But it would be a godsend to those golfers who haven’t yet retired, who have work and family commitments and who have zero chance of finding a half-day for golf at weekends, let alone during the busy working week.
Change of any sort is painfully slow coming in golf. But what’s wrong with a few clubs programming nine-hole comps midweek – open to both men and women, playing off whatever tee they like – and see what the response is like?
Who knows? We might uncover a host of members we’ve never met before – people who did not have the time to play regular 18-hole comps, but could surely find a couple of hours now and then for a quick nine holes.
And it might encourage a new wave of members who, finally, see some value in joining a golf club where they are actually able to play the game at a time – and for a length of time – that suits them.
By Larry Canning
YES, absolutely! Nine holes is often the only option for thousands of golfers. Nine holes should be a legitimate competitive option at all golf clubs.
Oh, that’s only if we want more golfers at our courses, the game to continue to grow and become accessible to time-poor people who have crazy work commitments and/or young kiddies.
Or for that matter, older people who still like to walk the course for exercise but can’t get around all 18. If you feel the game in Australia is full, then maybe it’s not such a great idea.
I certainly haven’t noticed an overflow of golfers. Has anyone else?
As a golf professional, I have a responsibility to sustain and grow the game. It’s part of the unwritten oath you take when the PGA of Australia hands you your credentials, which I’m finding myself now constantly showing my playing partners to prove I am a professional.
But you shouldn’t have to be a pro to assume some obligation to keep the game we all love alive and well. Come on committee people all across Australia, come up with a plan to include a regular nine-hole competition at your course.
I’m not suggesting we eventually do away with 18-hole competitions for those lucky enough to have five to six hours on a weekend up their sleeves, but just give the other half of our golfing population another option to enjoy a hit in the competition and remain employed … and married.
What do you think? Email comments to email@example.com
The post Should golf clubs schedule more nine-hole competitions? first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
By Tony Webeck
THE more that you scratch beneath the surface, the more apparent that it becomes.
That David Micheluzzi’s summer of superiority was far more than a hot streak not seen in Australia in almost 20 years.
A three-time winner to claim the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit for 2022/2023, Micheluzzi will get a head-start on his 2024 DP World Tour card by playing tournaments in Europe in the lead-up to The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in July.
The expectation is that his first tournament on the continent in 2023 will be the Italian Open from May 4-7, the 26-year-old Victorian hoping to use the points he garnered as an affiliate member at the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Open to earn further DP World Tour appearances.
Eager to cash in on the best golf of his young career, Micheluzzi wants to take advantage of form that has its foundation in an impromptu chipping lesson out the front of the Cranbourne Golf Club pro shop more than five years ago.
A promising amateur whose talent wasn’t translating to the type of results that turn heads, Micheluzzi confided in friend and fellow professional Andrew Cooper as to why he was coming up short.
In particular, it was a shot into the final hole of The Dunes Medal in late 2017 that Cooper, now a PGA teaching professional at Victoria Golf Club, identified as being poison to a player hoping to make a career playing the game.
“He told me that he had a basic shot up the 18th hole – about 12 or 14 metres – and he hit it to five feet,” Cooper recalled, Micheluzzi finishing second to Blake Collyer by a shot.
“I said to him, ‘Mate, that’s just not good enough. For a player of your ability, that’s actually embarrassing and if you continue to do that you won’t go anywhere with your golf.’”
That frank assessment led to a short-game session where Cooper demonstrated eight or 10 shots that could be played around the green, opening Micheluzzi’s eyes to the manner in which the greats of the game wielded their array of wedges.
Viewing a ‘stock shot’ as an anathema to a proficient short game, Cooper went about demonstrating how the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal and Tiger Woods took spin off to get up-and-down more often.
“The chipping green at Cranbourne is literally right outside the pro shop and we’d always talk about how to play different shots,” Micheluzzi revealed on the ‘Talk Birdie To Me’ podcast.
“Some of these shots are very old school. It was more flight, land angle, how they want the ball to release on the green to hole chips and get chips close.
“I started playing around with that and I played unbelievable. I won the Vic Am final 9&8, I won the Master of the Amateurs by five shots three weeks after that and played really well at the Aussie Am.
“I thought, ‘there’s something in this’. It took me another four years to think, ‘maybe I should employ this guy’.”
In addition to his long-time swing coach Marty Joyce, Micheluzzi added Cooper to his team in March last year and the pair went to work.
At their first session there was another brutal reality check as to the quality of his strike on short shots but the quest for better drove Micheluzzi forward.
He sent a letter to his manager to outline his plans to win the Australasian Tour Order of Merit and then won the first event of the season, the WA PGA Championship at Kalgoorlie Golf Course, including an up-and-down at the 72nd hole to seal a three-stroke win.
“He was short of the green for two at Kalgoorlie and he’s hit this shot to about three feet,” Cooper added.
“I don’t think people understand how difficult that shot is. That was a really cool shot.”
Micheluzzi would add the TPS Sydney and the NSW Open titles by season’s end, becoming the first three-time winner in a season since Robert Allenby in 2005. He was also runner-up twice and recorded four additional top-10s to finish with 60 per cent more Order of
Merit points than second-placed Tom Power Horan.
But Micheluzzi is refusing to look back.
He knows now that he has the support network to take his game to the world and, in his words, “do some damage”.
“Having him has propelled me to another level,” Micheluzzi said of Cooper’s influence.
“I’ve been with Marty for such a long time. He knows my game better than anybody. Better than probably even myself.
“I want to see if I can compete with these guys. It’s going to be daunting – playing your first major can be very scary – but I’m just so excited to tee it up and show just how good the players here in Oz are.
“We’ve got a great team and I can’t wait to do some damage.”
The post Micheluzzi’s magic ride first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
By James Sutherland
GOLF is big. Golf is getting bigger. Golf is different.
These are the 10 words I unashamedly repeat every single day.
Why? Because as an industry, golf is enjoying huge positive momentum, and I want everyone to understand the potential of our game.
For Golf Australia, our purpose was laid bare in the recently developed industry-wide Australian Golf Strategy – quite simply, we want more Australians playing more golf.
The 2022 Participation Report shows that we have sustained the upward trend line. For the first time since 1994, club member numbers nationally have increased in three consecutive years.
This follows 2021, when the number of playing members increased by 6.4% – the largest ever increase on record.
After decades of general contraction, the tide has turned, and the industry has wind in its sails. Outside of club membership, new National Golf Foundation research commissioned by Golf Australia revealed the national membership number of 427,000 is just one component of the total on-course participation number of 1.5 million people who played golf on-course last year. A further 1.2 million people only played off-course – like at the driving range, at simulator venues, via virtual golf, or mini-golf.
Around 10 per cent of our national population participated in golf one way or another in the last 12 months. These participation numbers are huge and give an insight into the important role golf plays in the way of life of so many Australians – but also the scale of the golf’s impact on our economy.
Golf is big, and it’s getting bigger.
Golf Australia has a leadership role in encouraging participation and supporting key parts of the golf ecosystem so that every dimension of our sport is connected.
There are more than 1600 clubs and facilities across Australia. More than half of these are volunteer run – with no paid administration or PGA professional. We have an important role to support them and their role in the local community.
Working closely with the PGA and our clubs and facilities, we want great customer experiences – thereby attracting newcomers to our sport and, at the same time, improving service levels for existing golfers.
That includes investing in junior participation programs, working with clubs and facilities to improve the local golfer experience, getting closer to gender equality through initiatives such as the Women in Golf Charter, using innovative digital solutions to improve player engagement, delivering the national handicapping system, and advocating for our sport at every level of government.
Simply put, we have a responsibility to ensure the industry we lead is equipped to take the game forward.
Furthermore, the weight of the decisions we make – and the path we choose to follow – is made heavier with the knowledge that we are not among the handful of national sports that receive vast sums of revenue through multi-million-dollar media rights deals. Golf is different.
Not only is golf one of the biggest participation sports in the country, it has unique characteristics as a sport for all ages – a sport for life.
Finding the optimal allocation from a limited resource base is an important and difficult challenge. There will always be opinions as to where we should invest our money, but first and foremost, growing participation in our clubs and facilities is where our priorities lie.
Hand in glove, our high-performance team and the PGA’s men’s and women’s tours have an enormous responsibility in turning the best young golfers in the country into world-class golfers, who in-turn inspire the next generation.
You only need to look at Cameron Smith, Minjee Lee and the impact their success at majors had on MyGolf hitting record numbers.
It’s clear that in the world we now live in, golf has captured people’s imagination in a new way. But if we aren’t investing to make our sport modern and progressive – any sport that chooses to, will gleefully eat up a piece of our pie.
In the modern age, good service is expected to come with digital assets and services that will innovate and enhance the customer experience. Golf is no different – and this is an important part of Golf Australia’s role.
Last month, we announced that our 18-month search for a technology partner had concluded, with DotGolf chosen to deliver expanded technology services, including a new handicapping and club management platform.
When all elements of this exciting project are delivered by March 2025, Australia will have cutting-edge digital services that will make it easier than ever before for golfers to participate in our game however they choose and in all its forms.
This project will be a significant focus for the team at Golf Australia – and the opportunities they can unlock are endless.
As custodians of the sport, this is Golf Australia’s job – to leave this game in better shape than we found it.
And we’re committed to do the work, often away from the spotlight, so that our unique game is bigger and stronger in the years to come.
The post GA making the game of golf ‘modern and progressive’ first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
KEPERRA Country Golf Club’s junior golf program received a shot in the arm last month when teenagers filled the club championship’s top three podium spots.
Wesley Hinton, 16, won the A grade championship after posting a four-round total of 285 to edge out fellow teenagers Jack Jones (287) and Ben Dowling (295) – both aged 17.
Hinton, who plays off +2, isn’t the first junior to win a club championship at a metropolitan club and won’t be the last, but having three juniors fill the top three places is a credit to Keperra’s junior golf program led by teaching professionals Chris McCourt and Jake Newbery.
It was a dream come true for Hinton, who has taken his game to another level.
A couple of years ago, he averaged around 200m off the tee, but a growth spurt coupled with gym workouts have added length to his game and the teen can now pound it 250-260m on command.
No question, he’s got game.
Coached by Keperra CGC’s head teaching professional Chris McCourt, Hinton has set his sights on playing more 72-hole tournaments around Australia.
“My goal is to just keep improving and getting as good as I can in the next few years,” said Hinton, who has a best score of seven-under par at Keperra.
And he was delighted to be joined on the podium by friends Jack Jones and Ben Dowling.
“It was cool to see three juniors do well,” he said. “Jack and Ben are good friends of mine.”
Most days Hinton can be found on the practice range, but only plays “one or two comps a week” due to school commitments.
“My goal is to just keep improving and getting as good as I can in the next few years. It was cool to see three juniors do well”
He plans to take a gap year in 2024 to work on his golf game in the hope of one day turning professional.
McCourt, who won the Keperra 1987 club championship, has coached Hinton for the past four years and is impressed with his progress.
“Wes works hard on his game,” he said. “His overall game is good, but his short-game is his strength.”
McCourt says Winton even impressed two-time winner on the US PGA Tour John Senden, who also honed his skills at Keperra.
“When Sendo was home a few years ago we took Wes out for a game and Sendo challenged him to play different shots like fades, draws and low knock-down shots.
“After that, Sendo turned to me and said, ‘this kid has a good golfing mind’. I said, ‘I know’.”
For the record, McCourt also coaches Jack Jones.
“I have coached Jack since he was 12 and he and Wes have a joint golf lesson every Friday afternoon,” he added.
The post Juniors fill top 3 spots at Keperra club champs first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
FORGET the Ryder Cup for a moment – here is a match made in Heaven.
At least that’s the response you’d get from a few rugby league stars from the Manly Sea Eagles.
The gun footballers thought they were dreaming when they turned up to Bayview Golf Club last month for a photo opportunity with one of their major sponsors, Pointsbet.
When Jake Trbojevic, Toafofoa Sipley and Reuben Garrick arrived on the first tee, who was there to greet them?
Only one of the world’s most popular athletes, Paige Spiranac, who joined Pointsbet as a brand ambassador in 2021 and also took an equity stake in the company.
She has also been named the No. 1 golf ‘influencer’ in the world.
Spiranac has more followers on social media than just about anyone … and was also named the Sexiest Woman Alive in Maxim’s 2022 Hot 100 list.
She was the first athlete to attain that No. 1 spot.
And while admitting to being a rugby league ‘novice’, she was happy to take on the boys over nine holes of matchplay to show off her golfing skills as part of a promotional tour Down Under.
Spiranac showed what a good sport she was by also doing some tackling practice with the boys at training that day.
“If you give me something to tackle just know I’m going all out,” she joked.
“I think we’ve been stitched up here,” joked Trbojevic before he and Garrick took on Sipley and the former golfing professional in a Scramble format at Bayview.
“We’re up against it, but Reuben and I are fighters – we don’t give up,” said Jake.
In the end it didn’t really matter that Paige could beat them easily – if she wanted to. It was more about fun and games and she proved what a good sport she was by attending training at the Manly camp and kicking a ball around with the boys as well.
“All for the good of the game,” she said.
The post Sea Eagles trio tackle game with top influencer first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
By Michael Davis
ROYAL Park president, Bruce Sutherland, is a member of St Andrews in Scotland.
“Luckily, I am a ‘country’ member which makes it affordable. It’s very dear otherwise.”
But Bruce cherishes his membership at Royal Park just as dearly as he does that at the venerable home of the game of golf.
Like Royal Park, St Andrews is indeed a public course provided you can afford the green fees, which are considerably higher than the iconic Melbourne nine-holer which runs alongside the Melbourne Zoo. Golfers at Royal Park often stand over the driver or a crucial putt to a roar from the lions’ den or trumpet from the elephants’ enclosure.
All of this, according to Sutherland, adds to the charm of the place. But more than that, he believes nine-hole public courses in Australia are the lifeblood of the game.
He says he is honoured to be president of Royal Park and thrilled to celebrate the club turning 120 years old earlier this year.
It was probably men like Sutherland, who in 1903, soon after the federation of Australia, who formed the Royal Park Golf Club on their own initiative.
“They leased the land, built and maintained the course with their own resources, time and physical work in Royal Park on the edge of the heart of the city. This park, at 170 hectares, is the largest green space in Melbourne. It now includes fields and facilities for a wide range of sports, the zoo, wetlands and a range of public facilities,” Sutherland says.
“The pace is steeped in history,” he adds proudly. “The area was originally a ceremonial area for people of the Eastern Kulin nation. From the outset, the first tee was next to the cairn where Bourke and Wills began their ill-fated expedition.”
One of Royal Park’s many beautiful quirks is that it is the only course in the world which has both a tram and train lines running through it.
The course began as 18 holes but over the years as the park developed it was moved to a variety of positions in Royal Park. After being mowed by one-man mowers, a horse drawn mower was introduced in 1929.
The club endured many highs and lows over the years in terms of membership numbers and financial security. In the 1960s the club held monthly dances. It is now a public, nine-hole, undulating, tree-lined golf course in the north east section of the park. It has survived the effects of two World Wars (during the second of which thousands of soldiers were accommodated in the park), densification of the neighbouring suburbs, the burning down of the clubhouse, as well as the effect of the Covid pandemic, when the local dogs thought they had found a new heaven on the fairways.
The club has been a nursery for hundreds, maybe thousands, of golfers.
The most prestigious of which is five-time Open champion, Peter Thomson, widely regarded as Australia’s best ever golfer. Peter discovered the game of golf as a young lad when his uncle ran his greyhound on the fairways. Living close to the fourth hole, with only a single club, the boy began hitting the white ball in 1941 when no one was around. Once his talent was spotted, he was greatly encouraged by some members of Royal Park Golf Club.
In 1942, he became a member when the club lowered its entry age to 13 to accommodate him. He won its championship in 1945. A plaque at the first hole commemorates his relationship to the club.
On Sunday, March 19, more than 90 players, (juniors, women, men and veterans) gathered at the club to celebrate its longevity. The festive day started with a shotgun –18 holes played in the morning followed by lunch, light-hearted speeches (including one by Peter Thomson’s son, Andrew) and a prize giving by Peter Ross, president of the Victoria Golf League.
In the afternoon there was an ambrose nine-hole competition with many of the golfers playing with old hickory clubs and some even donning their plus-fours for the occasion.
“The golfers were aware of their indebtedness to the founders of the club, acknowledging all the efforts and commitment of those who followed them, to foster the game of golf at Royal Park that so many enjoy,” Sutherland said. “It was a wonderful day of golf camaraderie with both old acquaintances being rekindled and new friendships made.
“This club is an example of the great value of public golf courses. It succeeds via the cooperation of its various stakeholders, the Melbourne City Council, Serco who maintain it, Greenspace and the YMCA who manage the clubhouse and bookings and the various clubs that use it.
“In line with our history, Royal Park Golf Club will continue to offer very attractive membership rates for all classes of golfers, making golf accessible for many, encouraging the growth of the sport.
“We are committed to broaden the range of people playing golf and keep their fees reasonable to ensure they don’t act as a barrier to membership. And we pride ourselves on fostering the social aspect of the game, welcoming visitors and new members,” he says proudly.
The veterans play on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, the women, who began playing at the club in 1906, on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the RPGC on Sundays.
May it continue for another 120 delight-filled years.
The post Melbourne’s iconic nine-holer turns 120 first appeared on Inside Golf. Australia's Most-Read Golf Magazine as named by Australian Golfers - FREE.
THE name Chappell will forever be synonymous with cricket after the stellar careers of brothers Ian, Trevor and Greg.
Beyond their professional cricketing careers, the dedicated work of the Chappell brothers in building the game in Australia, and around the world, is something for the next generation to aspire to.
Former captain Greg Chappell was one of Australia’s all-time best batsmen and, it turns out, he has excelled on the golf course.
He only started to take golf seriously when his cricket career ended and, like many of us, was befuddled by the usual hyper-analysed techniques that golfers seem steadfast in perfecting.
Once he let go of all those technical aspects and applied the simplicity and mental approach gleaned through decades of top-level cricket, his golf flourished, handicap dropped and his enjoyment of the game soared.
With a keen interest in elite sports performance, Greg is often called on for his insights into coaching and the mental side of cricket and the crossover with cricket and golf becomes quite clear.
AC: Greg, did you play golf with your brothers when you were growing up?
GC: No. We had fruit tins in the back lawn for putting contests and things like that, but I actively avoided golf during my cricket career. As a cricketer, we spend all our life on our legs and I couldn’t see the point, on a rest day, of walking for another four hours.
AC: What has been your lowest handicap?
GC: I got to +1 for one round of golf, but in all honesty a one handicap was my lowest playing at Royal Queensland. I was always two good rounds away from playing off scratch.
AC: Is your golf swing similar to your batting stroke?
GC: My golf in the early days was like I was playing golf with a cricket bat. It was all fades and cuts with a lot of lateral movement. It wasn’t until many years later that I realised that golf is a rotational game.
AC: What is the strength of your game?
GC: I’m not a long hitter, but I hit it straight. I got down to a one handicap not by having a lot of birdies and bogeys, but by having a lot of pars.
“My golf in the early days was like I was playing golf with a cricket bat.”
AC: Any memorable golfing moments?
GC: One of my most memorable sporting feats was at the 18th at St Andrews. I drove the green and holed the putt and, what’s more, it took 14 skins off Tony Greig who had been beating me all day so it was even better.
AC: Of the Aussie cricketers, who have you shared a round with?
GC: I played with most of them at some stage or another. While living in Melbourne, I used to play a tournament in the same team with Warnie (Shane Warne) and we were against James Sutherland and Ricky Ponting. It was amusing to me, but it wasn’t amusing to Ricky because he just couldn’t beat Warnie. Ricky would be the best and most consistent of the cricketer/golfers I know and it used to just burn him that he was playing off scratch and Warnie was off 8 or 9 and, by the time the shots were given, he just couldn’t win. Warnie and I beat them one day at Royal Melbourne on the 12th and Ricky was probably one or two-under par.
Warnie just loved it. He was just a great competitor. Again, he was a better golfer than his handicap and always seemed to have a couple more shots than he needed on his handicap. Under pressure, I don’t think I have played with a better non-professional golfer than Warnie.
I can remember a shot at Cathedral Golf Club on the third hole. Ponting had played a great shot to a tight pin behind the bunker and Warnie has about an 8-iron. Any other handicap golfer would have fired at the left side of the green and hoped the ball rolled on to about 20 feet. Warnie stood there, took dead aim and knocked it to about three feet and it was never going anywhere else. I saw him do it time and time again. I don’t know what his routine was, but he just seemed to go inside himself and dial up something, ‘this is what I need’ and that is what he would do. It was fascinating to watch.
AC: Can you describe the crossover with the mental approach with top level cricket and golf?
GC: It’s a process. You develop a routine and mine kept me in the moment. Concentration is nothing more than focusing on what you need to focus on, at the right time. I needed to work the game out in a simple way and needed to turn it into a reactive game rather than a proactive game. I reacted to the bowler my whole life in cricket and I had to find something to react to … and that became the target.
AC: Does it happen in cricket, that sort of paralysis through analysis?
GC: Oh God, every day. Cricket and golf are very similar. I think both are over-coached and, in some cases, there is misguided coaching. Life is an exercise in risk management. I turned my cricket career into one ball. If you could concentrate for one ball you could concentrate for a thousand balls. It is the same with golf, I don’t have to play a full round – it is one shot at a time.
AC: Tell us about playing golf with Richie Benaud.
GC: I played with Richie Benaud a bit and he was a very keen golfer. While he wasn’t overly technically-minded with his cricket, he was highly technical with his golf. I think he over-thought it a bit, didn’t talk much on the course and was very much in a little cocoon. I see it with golfers. They get so obsessed with ‘it (swing) has to look like the pros’.
AC: How would you describe your golf swing?
GC: I worked out with my own golf game that it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, you have what you have, and you would be better off working on bringing the better stuff more often. In cricket, and golf, except for the very highest levels, they do not really teach people about thinking, cultivating and environment that encourages good decision-making. Most golf lessons are only focused on getting you to hit it better. You might hit it well on the range, but can’t take it to the golf course and a lot of that is about thinking, making decisions, risk management, shot selection and which club to use. I tend to watch a lot of women’s golf. I can learn more from them than I can from the men. I can’t overpower it, like the men do and neither can the women so they need to be highly efficient with what they do. What I like about women’s golf is their rhythm.
AC: Who are some of the best golfers you’ve shared a round with?
GC: I played with Greg Norman early in his career at Royal Queensland. He was an amazing ball-striker. The sound off his club-face was different and a lot of people talk about what a ball-striker he was but in those early days, boy, could he putt. I’ve been lucky enough, through mutual friends, to play with Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo. It’s just amazing to be up close and witnessing the shots they can hit. I got to meet and play golf with Norman von Nida … an Aussie legend. His bunker play was something else – never seen anything like it. He was a very generous man who helped all of the younger Australians. A pioneer.
AC: Are there any charities you are passionate about?
GC: The Chappell Foundation is close to my heart. We support seven frontline charities that work with youth homelessness. It is a disgrace in a country as wealthy as our that we have about 100,000 people who don’t have a place to call home and around 40,000 of them who sleep rough, every night. That was inspired by being in Fitzroy gardens in the middle of winter and seeing these poor people almost freezing to death. The Chappell Foundation puts on a charity golf day each year at NSW Golf Club.
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