Australian amateur golf’s elite events have been overhauled for the first time in a generation.
Golf Australia operations boss Simon Brookhouse said the “exciting restructure” would modernise the entire suite of national championships and ensure they’re played at the best possible venues.
“GA has been reviewing its key events since One Golf began with a view to making them align better and played in a way that’s more logical for host clubs, athletes and us as organisers,” Brookhouse said.
“The immediate focus has been on our national championships to ensure their relevance and that they have a professional and consistent delivery across the country, wherever they are hosted.”
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.
The following changes will be effective from January 2021:
Australian Amateur Championship
Australian Junior Championship
Australian Mid-Amateur Championship
Australian Senior Amateur Championship
Australian Interstate Teams Matches
Australian Junior Interstate Teams’ Matches
Brookhouse acknowledged the tradition of these championships, but said change was required to modernise and align all events.
“They’ll ensure the best possible host venues are engaged, that the events are played with the greatest off-course efficiency to remain financially viable and that the level of competition remains at a high standard,” he said.
“They’ll maintain appropriate performance pathway for all levels of competition and, importantly with regards to our Vision 2025 platform, ensure that men’s and women’s championships are concurrent whenever possible to showcase golf’s inclusive nature.”
Brookhouse said that while the fields’ current gender composition was unequal, it is GA’s strong medium-term intention to ensure such equality.
“GA will actively work towards achieving this goal in line with its vision and strategic pillars. However, 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 the championship fields.”
Brookhouse said the decision to cancel the 2020 national 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.”
At this stage, it is GA’s intention to complete the final national events of 2020 (Australian Men’s Senior, Australian Women’s Senior and Australian Mid-Amateur championships) as initially planned.
However, GA is constantly reviewing the situation based on government guidelines, with player health and safety as top priority. With that in mind, changes to these events (eg. venue, dates) might be required to ensure they are still completed in 2020.
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