Story courtesy of Golf Australia.
A few minutes before 5pm on the Saturday of the 2017 Emirates Australian Open, just as Jason Day was making birdie at the last to secure the outright lead going into the final day, 24 club golfers were taking their positions on tees throughout the back nine of The Australian Golf Club and preparing to make their own little piece of golfing history.
Shortly afterwards, with applause still ringing in the air, the first shots were struck in the inaugural ‘Play 9 at the Emirates Australian Open’ event.
The participants, who had qualified through nine-hole competitions across six states, were joined by Brendon Goddard of the Essendon Football Club, Tom Papley of the Sydney Swans and ex-Australian Test cricketer Stuart Clark as they sought to accumulate as many stableford points as possible on a world-class championship golf course.
The team event was closely fought and won by Victoria, whilst the individual winners were Christine Wakefield (19 points) from the Northern Territory and Lachlan Bath (21 points) from Victoria.
The most commonly uttered phrase amongst those who were lucky enough to be part of this fantastic event was “experience of a lifetime” and, with consumers ever more time poor, there was a widespread belief that nine-hole golf has a significant role to play in growing the game in Australia.
This fantastic event was supported by the R&A as part of its international push to promote nine-hole golf, which has seen golfers in the UK play the last two years’ Open courses in the lead up to the championship.
The 5pm starting siren on Saturday also marked the start of a marketing campaign to inspire club members and social golfers to #Play9 over the Australian summer.
The campaign will emphasise that nine-hole golf is fast, fun and fits into busy lives – whether it’s early in the morning, after work, at weekends or even on holiday. It will also seek to ensure clubs and facilities around the country are offering nine-hole opportunities to club members, guests and social golfers alike.
In addition, the campaign provides an opportunity for Golf Australia to educate club members who aren’t yet aware that nine-hole cards can now be submitted for handicap purposes through nine-hole competitions. The campaign therefore also emphasises that nine-hole golf is a great way to keep your skills sharp and your handicap up to date.
Golf Australia and the R&A have already started talking about how this event and its qualification process can be bigger and better in 2018, and they are looking forward to golfers around Australia sharing their #Play9 experiences on social media this summer.
- VIC, 55 points
- QLD, 49 points
- SA, 48 points
- NSW, 47 points
- NT, 45 points
- TAS, 42 points
- Winner: Christine Wakefield (NT), 19 points
- Runner-up: Sandra Winter-Dewhirst (SA), 16 points (countback)
- Robyn Elphinstone (QLD), 16 points
- Wayne Best (SA), 16 points
- Rachel Dawson (TAS), 15 points
- Maria Neill (NSW), 14 points
- Sue French (VIC), 14 points
- Kathy Naoumidis (VIC), 12 points
- Kay Byrne (NT), 11 points
- Kellie Drew (QLD), 11 points
- Glenda Attenborrow (TAS), 9 points
- Jan Myers (NSW), 5 points
- Winner: Lachlan Bath (VIC), 21 points
- Runner-up: Michael Hu (VIC), 20 points
- John Craig (NSW), 19 points
- Campbell Kerr (QLD), 17 points
- Ben Flavel (SA), 16 points
- Alan Grieve (QLD), 16 points
- Lorian Cogo (NT), 15 points
- Michael Geeves (TAS), 14 points
- Peter Greig (NSW), 14 points
- Josh Lawrence (TAS), 13 points
- Ben Hopkins (SA), 13 points
- Scott Revie (NT), 10 points