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NSW Open A Must Watch For True Golf Fans

(Photo: Bruce Young)
Barnbougle owner Richard Sattler once said that the notion of ‘build it and they will come’ is a dangerous myth.

Instead, he said, invest in your product and have a strategy and it is possible to make it grow. Exhibit A? Golf's NSW Open.

Once one of Australia’s most revered and prestigious titles, the tournament was, like many in the boom years of the 80s and 90s, swallowed up by bigger, flashier events, some of which have since disappeared off the calendar.

But a championship that boasts a history as rich as the state title of the nation’s most populated state deserves better than what it had become and in recent years it has begun to claw its way back.

The staff at Golf NSW deserve full credit for a lot of hard work and innovative thinking and they are really beginning to reap the rewards.

A massive purse increase last year to $400,000 and a shift in date to the week prior to the Australian Open in Sydney means golf fans who make the effort to head to Twin Creeks this week will be well rewarded.

Administrators mark the success of a golf tournament on a number of different metrics but for fans there is just one criteria: who is playing.

In this department, this week’s NSW Open is the most interesting for some time.

There are a host of highly credentialed golfers in the field including former Australian Open winner Stephen Allan, European Tour regular Jason Scrivener and rising young stars Kramer Hickok of the US and Luca Cianchetti of Italy.

Heavy bunkering is a feature of the Graham Marsh-designed Twin Creeks.

But the player who will likely provide the most entertainment is Brett Rumford, the owner of perhaps the best short game in the world.

Rumford is a six-time winner on the European Tour so is no slouch in any area of the game but it is around the greens where he can amaze.

To follow the Western Australian for 18 holes is to find yourself secretly hoping he will miss greens just so you can be wowed by the array of shots he has on call.

One of the game’s genuine good guys, Rumford is a better player than many give him credit for and any fan who makes the effort to follow him will be glad they did.

Specific players aside, the greatest appeal of golf a rung below the biggest events is the opportunity to walk the fairways with the players.

Gallery ropes are all but non-existent this week and the chance to watch the players up close is one that shouldn’t be passed up.

As commentator and former player Mike Clayton pointed out on this week’s episode of the iSeekGolf Podcast, the best place to watch golf is from directly behind the player and the NSW Open offers a rare opportunity to do just that.

Next week’s Australian Open will have Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and crowds much larger than Twin Creeks.

But those who make the effort to go west this week will have a golf watching experience the biggest events could never hope to match.


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