The ALPG Tour moved on from yet another hugely successful ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club, where Korean LPGA rookie Jin Young Ko stole the show with a three-shot victory, to the beautiful NSW seaside town of Coffs Harbour.
Getting from Adelaide to Coffs Harbour does not seem like the easiest journey in the world, but it was one which proved very worthwhile as the stars of the ALPG and The Ladies European Tour as they headed to the mid-north NSW Coast for two weeks of tournament golf.
The first tournament was the Australian Ladies Classic at the magnificent Bonville Golf Resort, the second week was the Women’s NSW Open held at Coffs Harbour Golf Club.
For the players being in one place for two weeks rather than the customary one week is a real treat. They actually have the time to take in some of the local sights and activities and in Coffs Harbour’s case there is certainly plenty to do.
Some of the activities players took part in over the course of the 2 weeks were swimming with dolphins, paddleboarding, fishing, shopping, wine tasting and bushwalking.
We were also extremely fortunate to have two great venues in Bonville Golf Resort and Coffs Harbour Golf Club. While quite distinctive and different in their design and appearance both provided stern tests of golf for the 144 players who played. Great fields were assembled for both tournaments; we welcomed players from 33 different countries to the Coffs Harbour region across the two tournaments and there is no doubt that all those who played, caddied or spectated will go home as strong advocates for both golf courses as well as the Coffs Coast Region.
The Australian Ladies Classic was won by Frenchwoman Celine Boutier holding out American Katie Burnett on a final day marred by rain delays and thunderstorms. We were extremely fortunate to get the tournament finished on the Sunday evening, and it is a great testament to General Manager Brad Daymond and all of his fantastic staff at Bonville for making this possible.
The tournament was televised live to 44 different countries across the globe on the weekend, and I am sure that the secret is out now that Bonville Golf Resort is not only one of the finest and most picturesque golf resorts we have but also one of the very best golf courses in Australia.
The following week the Women’s NSW Open was won by promising Englishwoman Megan MacLaren, who held out Australians Rebecca Artis and Sarah Kemp on the final day. Both New South Welshwomen were desperate to take out their state open championship but ultimately fell just short on the back nine on Sunday.
The players enjoyed playing Coffs Harbour Golf Club enormously, it is an extremely challenging course with superb greens and it is well worth a round of golf if you are ever passing through Coffs Harbour. The support offered to the players from club management, staff and members was fantastic, around 90 players were billeted by members and we had around 150 volunteers for the tournament. A big thanks to Paul McAra and his team for their hard work
I must also say a very big thanks to Stuart Fraser and his team at Golf NSW for making both of these great tournaments possible. It was certainly a challenge for their team to run two major events in back to back weeks but they did a fantastic job.
Another who must be recognised for his contribution in bringing women’s professional golf to the Coffs Coast is Coffs Harbour local member Andrew Fraser, and also NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro for his outstanding support.
We look forward to returning to Bonville in 2019 for the Australian Ladies Classic, while the NSW Women’s Open will rotate around the state to regional centres from 2019-2022.