Golf Australia has announced various format changes and the host venues for the 2012 Australian Men’sand Women’s Amateur Championships. Woodlands and Huntingdale Golf Clubs, both on the Melbourne sand-belt, will host the Championships from 17-22 January. Woodlands Golf Club has the honour of being the primary host, which will see competitors contest the match play rounds as well as the qualifying rounds at the venue. With its recently re-built clubhouse and the course highly regarded by golfing purists, the field is in for a true test. Huntingdale Golf Club, which in 2008 hosted its 30th consecutive Australian Masters, will co-host the Championship after hosting this year s Women’s Stroke Play. Competitors will play one of their qualifying rounds at the venue, which has played host to some of the biggest names in golf including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Geoff Ogilvy. The Melbourne staging of the event in 2012 will continue in 2013 in an effort to bring increased recognition, stability and commercial opportunities for the championship. The following format changes will be in effect for 2012: The event will be played in mid January. The traditional March date prevented players at US colleges and in the Northern Hemisphere from competing due to other commitments. The field size will be reduced to 216 men and 72 women. This will enhance the field quality, but will still allow a sufficient number of players to compete in their national amateur championship. It also reduces the number of host courses required from three to two. The qualifying rounds will be reduced from 72-holes to 36-holes. With an increasing number of events, there is mounting burden on player schedules and host club commitments, therefore 36-holes was deemed more appropriate. It will also ensure the emphasis is placed back onto the Amateur Champions rather than the Stroke Play Champions. The number of men to qualify for the match play rounds will be increased from 32 to 64. This will ensure a player who returns an unusually poor score, or has one bad hole over the 36-holes qualifying, should still qualify for the match play rounds. The 36-holes qualifying and 64 players to qualify for the match play rounds (Men’sAmateur) is consistent with other major amateur championships, notably the US Amateur and the British Amateur. Golf Australia Manager of Championships Therese Ritter said, The changes retain both the men’s and women’s event s 107 year tradition, whilst accommodating today s challenging elite amateur golf environment. We hope this revised format will assist in attracting high-quality overseas golfers, which will provide Australian players the opportunity to compete against the world s best without leaving home soil. We are also keen to ensure the event remains one of the world s leading amateur championships.