Golf in Australia
Golf Australia is the national sporting body that runs golf in Australia.
The PGA Tour of Australasia is the main men's tour in Australia. It was founded in 1973 as the PGA Tour of Australia, and changed to its current name in 1991. The tour is one of the five charter members of the International Federation of PGA Tours, making it a 1st tier tour. In 2007 the tour has a schedule consisting of 12 events, but only three of them are sole-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia. The PGA Tour of Australasia's development tour is the Von Nida Tour.
Australia's premier golf tournament and national Open is the Australian Open, run by Golf Australia, which has been held since 1904. Other tournaments include the Australian Masters, which has been held since 1979, and the Australian PGA Championship, which has been held since 1905.
In women's golf, the ALPG Tour has operated since 1972. It became a member of the International Federation of PGA Tours in 2009 when that organisation expanded to include all of the major women's tours. In its most recent season, 2011–12, the tour consisted of 12 events. The two richest are respectively the Ladies Masters, held since 1990, and the Women's Australian Open, held since 1974. Both events are co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour, and since the 2012 edition, the Women's Australian Open has also been co-sanctioned by the U.S. LPGA Tour.
Australia's top golfers, whether male or female, generally move to more lucrative tours—the European Tour or the U.S. PGA Tour for men, and the Ladies European Tour or the U.S. LPGA Tour for women—at the first opportunity.
There are several claims for the earliest golf played in Australia. To date there is only one claim with reliable evidence. This primary source evidence comes from ten entries in 1839 in the diary of Alexander Brodie Spark. These show that golf was played in 1839 at Grose Farm, which is now part of urban Sydney. Spark and his friends instituted the New South Wales Golf Club on the 1st of June 1839, but the Club and the golf at Grose Farm had very short lives and there is no connection to the current NSW Golf Club. Spark was a wealthy merchant, a well connected and well respected member of colonial society, and can be considered as a reliable witness. Golf at Grose Farm was strongly influenced by Royal Blackheath Golf Club in England.
The NSW Golf Club (no connection to the present NSWGC) and Grose Farm are certainly the first golf club and first golf course in Australia. The oldest club and course still existing today are different matters. Determining the oldest course on the basis of evidence is very difficult and there is no consensus. The oldest surviving club is The Australian Golf Club in Sydney. The members met as an informal club in 1882/83 and the Club formally constituted in 1884. The Club lost its home course from 1888 to 1895. They may or may not have played elsewhere. They continued to exist as a legal entity by keeping their bank account open and in credit. When they resumed playing, at a new course in Queens Park, they played for the same trophies as in 1884. Their Cadogan Cup is the oldest golf trophy played for in Australia.
The Brassie, Australian Golf Heritage Society, February 2015. This may be downloaded from www.australiangolfheritage.org.au . It contains two well researched articles on early golf history in Australia.
Australians have won a total of 26 majors in men's and women's competition. Some notable players include:
- Kel Nagle - won The Open Championship in 1960. Was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
- Greg Norman - ranked #1 in the world for 331 weeks. Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.
- Geoff Ogilvy - Winner of the 2006 U.S. Open. Has been ranked as high as #4, in 2009.
- Adam Scott - First achieved a ranking of 3rd in early 2007; returned to #3 in 2013 after becoming the first Australian to win the (U.S.) Masters.
- Jan Stephenson - won three LPGA majors in the early 1980s.
- Peter Thomson - won The Open Championship five times. Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.
- Norman Von Nida - one of the first successful Australian golfers.
- Karrie Webb – The only golfer to have won five separate events recognised as majors by the LPGA. Qualified for the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000; inducted in 2005.
- The Diaries of Alexander Brodie Spark 1836 to 1856, held at the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Special Collections A4869 & A4870.
- The Respectable Sydney Merchant: A.B. Spark of Tempe by Graham Abbott & Geoffrey Little, Sydney University Press (1976).
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Golf in Australia.|
- Golf Australia, The History of the Game of golf in Australia
- The Australian Golf Heritage Society
- List of Australian major title winners
- Golf Australia, official site
- MYGolf, official site of Australia's national junior program
- Crown Lager Social Golf Club, official site of Australia's national social golf program
- PlayGolf, official site
- Golf in Australia Golf course information for Australia