Our Sporting Life SA

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Kooyonga primed for World's best players

Adelaide's Kooyonga Golf Club is set for one of their biggest events yet.

From February 15-18 they play host to the Women's Australian Open which feature some of the World's best golfers who are vying for a share in the US $1.3 million in prizemoney.

It's been 93 years since Kooyonga's first 18 holes were declared officially open back on June 28, 1924 and since then the championship course has proudly hosted five Men's Australian Open's but the proud club are yet to hold a Women's Australian Open and the club's General Manager Brett Lewis is excited to finally host the event.

"This will be our first Women’s Open to continue the great tradition Kooyonga has in having held five previous Men’s Australian Championships," Lewis told Our Sporting Life SA.

"It has been a number of years since we hosted our last major event, so the tournament will provide an excellent challenge for our staff to present the course and facilities to the highest possible standard for such a prestigious event.

"I have no doubt the event will enhance our brand, showcase our wonderful facilities and course to a global audience and provide our members with an opportunity to watch some of the best female golfers in the world.

Since 2015 when South Australia were announced as hosts of the Women's Australian Open for the next three years, Grange Golf Club were fortuante to hold the event in 2016, Royal Adelaide followed in 2017 as they celebrated their 125th year and next month it will be Kooyonga's turn.

"We have been fortunate to watch and learn from the last two events at Grange and Royal Adelaide and so we have had a great deal of time to plan for hosting our first Women’s Australian Open," Lewis explained.

"The course is in superb condition at this time of year so our ground staff just need to put the final touches on the course presentation over the coming weeks.

"Richard James joined the Club as Course Superintendent in mid-2017 and his experience in preparing for the Women’s Australian Open at Grange in 2016 has been invaluable. We are well placed, with staff and members looking forward to showcasing the Club to a global audience and the best female golfers in the world.

During tournament week Lewis says their staff will jump from 50 employees to 100 with many local clubs kindly offering to provide staff for the event.

"A number of Clubs have kindly offered to provide staff to assist with course preparation during tournament week," Lewis said.

"It's a gesture we really appreciate.

It's often been said that to play well at Kooyonga you need to play 'as much with your head as well as your hands' and Lewis believes the trick to the course is to control the ball around the greens.

"Each golf course you play has a defence, some courses it is its length, some it may be that it is very narrow," Lewis said.

"Kooyonga is not a particularly long course and although there are a few narrow areas, this is not it’s major difficulty.

"The secret to playing a successful round at Kooyonga is the ability to control the ball around the greens, the greens are small, hard and contain subtle but punishing slopes.

"A misdirected approach, a miss-hit chip or a putt that is incorrectly read can result in some catastrophic results. If you have great control judging distances with your approaches, can chip and pitch both high and low with great accuracy and are confident with the putter than great scoring can be achieved.

With a month to go before the players tee off, Lewis concluded that he can't wait to see the club showcase their proud facilities.

"I'm looking forward to proudly presenting the course and facilities in wonderful condition and seeing the fairways lined with members and spectators watching some of the best female golfers in the world play our championship course."

Kooyonga Golf Club currently have close to 1500 members, 1,000 of which are playing members of the club including approximately 250 female members. There is currently a waiting list of around 3 to 4 years for Category 1 (Full Membership) however people are able to join the club as a restricted category two member within 12 months of an application.

They also offer two introductory membership options for up to a maximum of 12 months as a pathway to membership into Kooyonga.

For tickets to the 2018 Women's Australian Open please click here- http://www.golf.org.au/wao-ticketing

Image- Andrew Frackowski