[PHOTO: Gary Lisbon]

Melbourne’s famous Sandbelt is to host the national amateur championship once again in 2024 with a new naming rights sponsor in adidas.

World-renowned Yarra Yarra [pictured] and neighbouring Keysborough golf clubs have been chosen as the venues for the adidas Australian Amateur from 16-19 January, 2024. Men and women will contest four rounds of strokeplay.

Both courses will host the first two days of competition, with a cut at 36 holes before the players revert to Yarra Yarra for the last two rounds.

“These are fabulous venues and perfect for an event with this kind of history and standing,” said Therese Magdulski, Golf Australia’s general manager of events and operations.

“The Sandbelt is famous throughout the golf universe with good reason, and we are always delighted to be able to take the national championship to that part of world.

“It’s an event which showcases the best amateur players not only in Australia but from all over the world, and it makes perfect sense to hold it at golf courses which will test those players but also provide a great spectacle for golf-lovers.

“The adidas Australian Amateur is significant for our future stars’ development, highlighted by a terrific honour roll including Minjee Lee, Cameron Smith and Cam Davis.” 

The adidas partnership is part of a broader agreement between the various strands of Australian golf and the sporting  goods company that also covers both the men’s and women’s professional tours.

Golf Australia’s meneral manager for commercial Anthony Everard said: “The team at adidas love golf, are committed to helping us achieve our goals and their focus on sustainability and inclusivity aligns closely with our Strategy for Australian Golf.”

Darryn Lowe, general manager of adidas Golf in Pacific, said: “We are extremely excited to be attached to the Australian Amateur. The event really is that link between grassroots to professional golf.”

“From an adidas perspective, we see the Australian Amateur as one of the biggest global moments in amateur golf, and one that has a significant history and honour roll. It is really important that we continue to invest in the next generation and the Australian Amateur is the perfect platform for us.”

Yarra Yarra is suburban East Bentleigh last hosted the Australian Amateur in 2017 when Victorian Mathias Sanchez defeated Min Woo Lee in the matchplay final, and current world no.30, South Korea’s Hye-Jin Choi, won the women’s championship.

The club is one of eight ‘official’ Sandbelt clubs in Melbourne and is celebrating its 125th year in 2023, having undergone a substantial restoration under renowned architect Tom Doak’s watch.

Club president Michael Reidy said: “Yarra Yarra is delighted to host the Australian Amateur again alongside our friends at Keysborough. It is a storied tournament with a long history, and we are confident that the players will not only be challenged by Yarra’s famous green complexes, but that they’ll also find it an enjoyable experience.

“Having gone through a major restoration in recent years, we look forward to the best players in the country getting a first-hand experience of the outcome which we believe is magnificent.”

Keysborough Golf Club, which dates to 1898, will be hosting its first Australian Amateur.

“The entire board and staff at KGC are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to showcase our exceptional course to some of the best amateur golfers in the world,” said general manager Darren Eckhardt. 

“Coinciding with our 125th year celebrations, this collaboration sets the stage for an incredible start to the year.”

The 2023 Australian Amateur was held at New South Wales and St Michael’s golf clubs in Sydney in January, where New Zealander Kazuma Kobori and Japan’s Mizuki Hashimoto reigned supreme.

The Australian Amateur dates to 1894. Entries for the Australian Amateur will open in September.