The spectacular desert landscape of Kalgoorlie Golf Course will serve as the backdrop to the start of the Australian summer of golf after further changes to the PGA Tour of Australasia 2021-2022 schedule.

After last week’s announcement that both the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship would be pushed back to dates in early 2022, the PGA Tour of Australasia has made further adjustments to give the summer schedule the best chance of going ahead with quality fields.

Moving back into the date previously scheduled for the Australian Open, the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder WA PGA Championship presented by TX Civil & Logistics will now be played from November 25-28 at the Graham Marsh-designed Kalgoorlie Golf Course and will be followed a week later by the Nexus RISK WA Open at Royal Fremantle Golf Club.

The Victorian PGA Championship and Gippsland Super 6 have also been pushed back and will follow directly after the two WA events, the Vic PGA to take place at Moonah Links Resort on the Mornington Peninsula from December 9-12 before the tour moves onto Warragul Country Club from December 16-19. The circuit will then have a three-week Christmas-New Year break before resuming with the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club (January 13-16).

Ongoing border closures have necessitated the shift of tournaments originally slated to be played in October and November as PGA Tour of Australasia officials endeavour to deliver a condensed calendar of events that will help facilitate a full Order of Merit season.

“Our primary desire is to give our Tour the best possible chance to conduct as many events as possible in dates that will allow all our membership to participate in tournaments that carry full Order of Merit status,” said Nick Dastey, tournaments director Australasia for the PGA of Australia.

“It has become increasingly obvious in recent weeks that with the current lockdowns and restrictions across the country we were going to need some extra time to achieve this outcome. The postponement of both the Australian Open and Australian PGA were key pieces of the puzzle but we hope that this adjusted schedule will provide our players with a greater sense of certainty and excitement about a genuine summer of golf.“

This past 18 months has obviously been an extremely challenging time for tournament golf in Australia and New Zealand and we are extremely grateful that our tournament partners, which includes the players, have all been so patient and understanding.”

As has been the case throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, players will need to be able to travel freely between states for tournaments to retain full Order of Merit status, a freedom that officials hope will be possible by the end of the year.

“At current vaccination rates, the 80 per cent threshold is anticipated to be met in mid-November. Hopefully with that we will see an easing of restrictions around the country,” Dastey added.

“We owe it to our players to give every event the best possible chance to conduct Order of Merit events that all members are able to take part in and we owe it to our sponsors to provide the highest quality fields that we can. We’re hopeful that by the time the WA PGA Championship at Kalgoorlie Golf Course is due to begin on November 25 that we will be in position to deliver on both of those.”

Revised PGA Tour of Australasia schedule through to January 16. Further announcements to follow.

November 25-28 – CKB WA PGA Championship presented by TX Civil & Logistics at Kalgoorlie GC

December 2-5 – Nexus RISK WA Open at Royal Fremantle GC

December 9-12 – Victorian PGA Championship at Moonah Links Resort

December 16-19 – Gippsland Super 6 at Warragul Country Club

January 13-16 – Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland GC

The Australian Amateur is being pushed back from its customary date.

Meanwhile, the current COVID-19 situation has forced several changes to Golf Australia’s 2021-2022 national championships season.

The Australian Amateur, our premier national amateur championship, will move from its traditional January timeslot to March. With the continued momentum of the COVID-19 vaccination program, Golf Australia is optimistic that the environment will change substantially next year to ensure players can enter our flagship amateur event without the concern of border closures.

Golf Australia’s general manager of events and operations, Therese Magdulski said: “It is really important to us to ensure our best amateur golfers have the chance to contest the nation’s pinnacle national championship without the fear of being impeded by travel restrictions.

“By delaying it two months, whilst it is unlikely we’ll get our international participants in 2022, we believe this push will reduce the risk of compromising the event and will give it the best chance of allowing players from all states the opportunity to enter.”

The Australian Junior Amateur and both the Interstate Teams competitions will remain at their traditional April and May dates, as Golf Australia is confident that by that time, border closures will be unlikely. Regrettably however, the Australian Senior Amateur to be held in October at Glenelg in Adelaide and the Australian Mid-Amateur scheduled in November at Bribie Island in Queensland have been cancelled. With the events only weeks away the current border restrictions and the inability of many players to contest the national championships, which in turn impact the events’ integrity, were drivers of the decision.

“We want to provide a true national championship environment for players and host venues,” Magdulski said. “Having limited or local fields contest the events would not provide a genuine national championship experience.”

While postponements were explored, scheduling challenges made it impossible to contest the events within the next few months and delaying them significantly into 2022 was considered unsuitable. Golf Australia is grateful to Glenelg and Bribie Island Golf Clubs in having agreed to host the 2021 Australian Senior and Mid-Amateur and looks forward to returning to the venues soon.

With the cancellation of the Australian Senior Amateur, the 2021 National Senior Order of Merit will be cancelled. Given the 2021 Australian Amateur and Australian Junior were both played earlier in the year, the national Orders of Merit for men and women and juniors will be awarded at their conclusion at the end of October.

The final dates and venues for Golf Australia’s 2022 national amateur championships will be announced in the coming months. National championships are a vital component of the body’s high performance pathway in developing stars to inspire the next generation, along with showcasing the highest level of amateur talent across all ages.

Many have long histories, with the Australian Amateurs dating back to 1894, with all national championships continuing to evolve to ensure they remain contemporary and support growing the game. – Golf Australia