SportsTalk: Driving the growth of golf
Monday, March 20, 2017
Written by Chris McAlpine, CEO, Bay of Plenty Golf
For the 22nd consecutive year, Mount Maunganui, Omanu, Omokoroa, Tauranga and Te Puke Golf Clubs have hosted the EVES 5 Course Classic.
From an idea first mooted over a bar leaner in Omanu Golf Club in 1994, this fixture has grown to be one of the largest stableford golf competitions in the world.
It was always a winner, considering there were five excellent golf courses, all in close proximity, at arguably the best location in the country. The other necessary component was a willing sponsor and Eves Realty have been on board since inception.
Over the years, Omanu, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui Golf Clubs all took their turns at administering this event and after lodging a submission to take over the task, Bay of Plenty Golf was appointed to manage the tournament for the first time in 2016.
It was a massive task for any club to manage without affecting their core business and we felt that within our resources as an administrative body we had the skills to handle the task.
This year there were 325 golfers (with the gender breakdown of two-thirds male and one-third female) from nine countries and 79 different clubs nationwide, who spent their time in the Bay of Plenty participating in this five-day event.
As it is a competition based on handicap, all level of golfers are catered for, which helps tremendously with the camaraderie that has evolved and why we get a massive percentage of returning players.
The field are placed into four groups and play a different course each day.
With the computerised scoring system now in place, golfers could come into the 19th and see all the scores of their fellow competitors on screen as the players handed their cards in.
This also helps create a level playing field as handicap reductions can be made daily if any individual looks like performing well above handicap expectations.
As well as the exposure the host region achieves, there are obvious benefits to the hospitality sector and players are offered special rates at eateries and other amenities for the week.
We are looking at the feasibility of similar style events to be based in Rotorua and the Whakatane region, but possibly on a smaller scale.
The visitors love the concept and most have already booked their accommodation for next year. The only challenge is our locals want their course available to them whenever they feel like playing, but hopefully they will consider the benefits of the event to the wider community.
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