Regional Victoria set for PGA tournament

Regional Victoria could soon host a major Australian professional golf event with the PGA of Australia in talks with a number of clubs in the area.

Representatives from the Ballarat Golf Club and the City of Ballarat met with members of the Australian PGA recently to discuss the viability of hosting an event at the Ballarat Golf Club.

The PGA of Australia told Golf Grinder that the discussions were only preliminary but that there could be potential for an event as large as the Victorian PGA Championship, which currently has a prize purse of $110,000.

“We’re just really in negotiations at the moment with various parties and we’re at a stage where I suppose it’s getting close to making a decision but there’s still a lot of discussions to take place,” the PGA of Australia’s Nick Thornton said at the time of writing.

Ballarat Golf Club successfully hosted a round of the Australian Long Drive Championships in March.

The course was redeveloped on a partially new site in 2008 and is currently ranked the 54th best public access course in Australia by one Australian golf publication.

The PGA of Australia also spoke with the Traralgon Golf Club in Eastern Victoria in early June to assess its potential for hosting an event as large as the Victorian PGA.

Thornton said any regional Victorian course with adequate facilities could be chosen to host an event, regardless of its distance from Melbourne.

“Just a venue that’s happy to support the event and has a reasonable playing surface,” he said.

“We’ve held (events) at Mount Gambier before, Warrnambool, so there’s nothing stopping it just because it’s an hour or two’s drive. It’s about obviously the infrastructure that goes around it. Making sure there is relevant enough accommodation and those sort of things in the town.”

The PGA of Australia has also spoken with Launceston City Council in Tasmania recently and several courses in Launceston are being considered for an event.

Thornton said Launceston could host either a tournament such as the Tasmanian Open or an entirely new event.

“Or we would rehash a title that hasn’t been played for down there in a while or come up with a completely new title,” he said.