The ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia will add a new tournament to its schedule next year, with a revamped Yallourn Golf Club front and centre.
The inaugural ‘Gippsland Super Six’ and a plethora of community activities in partnership with the Latrobe Valley Authority will be a first for the region and be held late in 2019 at a date to be confirmed.
A field of 132 will compete across three days of stroke and match play qualifying before a dramatic top-24 shootout tailor made for spectators to determine a champion.
YGC project co-ordinator Peter Brown said the club had been on the hunt for a major event for some time, with a $200,000 grant to upgrade the championship layout a key for the PGA of Australia.
“We have been working to attract a significant event to the Gippsland region for some time now and with the assistance of the LVA community facility grant and members funds we are in the process of upgrading our course and facilities to make this a reality,” Brown said.
“In addition to raising the profile of golf and its place in our local sporting community, we are looking forward to working with the PGA to provide the foundation for increasing participation from people of all ages and backgrounds in this healthy outdoor sport.
“We are excited that the event will bring significant economic benefits for a broad range of businesses and tourist destinations within the Gippsland region and encourage all businesses to get actively involved in making this an ongoing event on Australia’s major golfing calendar.”
A full week of activity has been flagged including a junior pro-am, masterclass sessions, “caddy kids” opportunities and qualifying competitions for local amateurs to take part in the tournament proper.
Beyond the Super Six, the PGA will bring golf to Gippsland year-round in a calendar of community engagement consisting of school visits, clinics, Golf in Schools program, women’s swing-fit sessions and inclusive golfing opportunities for people with disabilities.
PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman was thrilled to make the announcement.
“We know golf is a massive sport in Gippsland with 14,000 registered players within 100km of Yallourn and a further estimated 26,000 social golfers in the same catchment area,” he said.
“The PGA is excited to bring this thrilling ‘Super Six’ format to the Latrobe Valley; the fast-paced action brings an element to golf different from your regular 72-hole stroke play that the whole family can enjoy.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing was equally buoyant.
“An ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia event in Gippsland is a tremendous coup for our region and a credit to the local facilities, like the Yallourn Golf Club, we are so proud to support,” she said.
“The Gippsland Super Six is expected to chip in up to half a million dollars to the local economy during tournament week through the players and their entourages alone, which is a significant boost for our tourist economy and reputation as a regional sporting powerhouse.”