PGA Australia has no doubt the earlier scheduling of the Victorian PGA Championship at Creswick next year will improve the quality of the field.
The $130,000 tournament will head up a revamped start to the new year for the PGA Australasian Tour.
The Victorian PGA on January 17-20 will be immediately followed by the inaugural $130,000 Heritage Classic in the Yarra Valley and final British Open qualifying event at Kingston Heath.
PGA Australia southern division executive officer Geoff Stewart said it was a perfect fit, with all three events complementing one another to provide a major drawcard for players from across Australia.
This year’s Victorian PGA, the first time the championship had been played at Creswick’s Forest Resort lay-out, found itself in “no man’s land” in mid-February.
The 72-hole event followed a five-week break on the circuit and was the week before the Queensland PGA Championship, forcing some players to make a choice between playing in Victoria or Queensland.
Stewart said having back-to-back tournaments leading into such an important qualifying event would maximise Creswick’s chances of attracting a larger proportion of the best players on the Australasian tour.
He said this was a real opportunity to build on what was achieved this year.
Stewart joined 1999 Australian Masters champion Craig Spence as a special guest at the launch of the Paul Turner Plumbing Victorian PGA Championship at the Creswick resort.
Originally from Colac, Spence endorsed having a tournament of the standing of the Victorian PGA in regional Victoria.
“It’s great to see such a special event here,” he said.
Spence said it was a great opportunity for the sport in the region. He said these events were all about people.
“Here is a top class event in relaxed surrounds in which golf enthusiasts can get to see professionals close-up.”
Spence, 38, no longer plays on any circuit, although he sometimes appears in a pro-am or a golf day as a favour for a friend.
He is totally focused on teaching and coaching as director of coaching at the Albert Park Driving Range in Melbourne.