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Aussies making headlines: November 2021 - Australian Golf Digest Aussies making headlines: November 2021 - Australian Golf Digest

Newsmaker of the month: Royal Melbourne Golf Club

At a time of great uncertainty, people look for leadership. As Australia’s most revered and respected golf club, Royal Melbourne’s decision to be the first to implement a ‘no jab, no play’ policy reverberated across the country.

One of Victoria’s leading barristers, Royal Melbourne Golf Club captain Andrew Kirby was the driving force behind the new by-law and quickly became the public face of golf’s push to reopen.

Other clubs were quick to follow suit.

Commonwealth Golf Club e-mailed members its intent to institute a similar policy, as did New South Wales Golf Club
, with Golf NSW chief executive Stuart Fraser leaving no doubt that Royal Melbourne’s stance emboldened other clubs.

“It is gaining momentum on the back of Royal Melbourne taking the lead on it,” Fraser said on the “Inside The Ropes” podcast.

“Each club is different in its own way, but there’s no question the government has shown its cards in this space. It’s gaining momentum and hats off to Royal Melbourne for taking the lead on that in Victoria.”

Receiving almost unanimous support from its membership, Kirby remains confident that such a by-law would survive any legal challenge.

“Other clubs are in different positions so I can only speak to where we’re at, but I think it would be a very difficult legal challenge,” Kirby said after Melbourne golfers were allowed to return to the fairways on September 29.

“I would prefer to have the brief for the club in a legal case.”

Headliners

Grace Kim: The reigning Australian Amateur champion took the step into the professional ranks having played in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and won twice on mini-tours in the US.

Webex Players Series: The innovative PGA Tour of Australasia format that pits men and women against each other has a third event on the calendar, TPS Hunter Valley to be played at Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort from March 10-13.

Nudgee Golf Club: After a redesign by James Wilcher, the 36-hole facility in Brisbane’s northern suburbs will host the Queensland PGA Championship from January 20-23.

Mitchell Smith: The Sanctuary Cove associate added the Pampling Plate Match Play title to his win earlier in their year at the GOLFMATE NSW/ACT PGA State Associate Championship, defeating Bailey Arnott 5&4 in the 36-hole final at Caboolture Golf Club.

Sarah Hammett: The Emerald Lakes Golf Club junior claimed the Katherine Kirk Classic at Maroochy River Golf Club, finishing even-par for the 54 holes in windy conditions.

Minjee Lee: Australia’s latest Major champion continued her good form, recording consecutive runner-up finishes on the LPGA and Korean LPGA tours to rise to sixth in the world ranking.

Parkwood Village: The progressive Gold Coast facility unveiled its most ambitious plans to date, revealing designs for a golf and surf park as part of an integrated resort, with the golf course to close with an homage to the par-3 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.

Sarah Wilson and Joseph Buttress: Wilson atoned for her defeat a year earlier while West Australian Buttress secured his first open-age state title at the South Australian Amateur at Mt Osmond Golf Club in Adelaide.

Stuart Appleby: Made a surprise debut on the Champions Tour at the Pure Insurance Championship, shocking everyone including himself with an opening round of six-under 66 at Pebble Beach to take a share of the lead. He closed with rounds of 77-72 to finish tied for 34th.

Sylvia Donohoe: The seven-time Australian Senior champion continued her dominance at her home club of Narooma Golf Club on the New South Wales South Coast, claiming her 14th consecutive club championship.

58: That’s the number of years Indooroopilly Golf Club member Hugh Brown had to wait between holes-in-one, recording his second on the fifth hole of the club’s Blue course in October at the ripe old age of 99.

They did what?

After finally giving golfers in Melbourne permission to return to the golf course on Wednesday, September 29, the Victorian Government came under fire for a stipulation that said indoor facilities – including toilets – had to remain closed. Royal Melbourne captain Andrew Kirby and former tour professional Mark Allen took a public stance, Allen blasting it as “the stupidest thing I‘ve ever heard”. People power ultimately won out, as the government overturned its ‘toilet ban’ four days later.

Feature image by istock.com/pedrosala