Left Handed Golf Championships 2017

Recently I had the opportunity to play in the 25th World L/Handed golf championships in Melbourne s/east on the sand belt courses and a week later, the 52nd Australian National L/Handed golf championships in Canberra. The Melbourne courses played were the Commonwealth (rated 19th best course in Australia) ,Woodlands course (rated 16th best), The National/Long Island course (rated 50th best) and the Keysborough course (rated in the top 100). All courses were well groomed with dry fairways and fast greens-slope indexes of 129-131 off the medium tees and over 6000 to 6300 mtrs in length. Fairway bunkers were strategically placed with some deep and large bunkering around the greens, especially the par 3s and green entries were about the same or less as the 18th at Manukorihi with drop-offs into bunkers. Very few golfers with 18plus h/caps broke a100 on any of the courses but big improvements could be made to scores if played again.

Roger Maxwell (Urenui) shot 386 over 4 rounds to win one of the flights in the super seniors division-no mean feat when compared with other scores.

Overall the courses were a great challenge and well worth playing, with a number of Kiwis agreeing that we have no courses like these in NZ except for the odd hole at Wairekie and Jacks Point. The National Championships in Canberra were played at the Federal GC (with kangaroos and bird life) and Yowani GC (rated as one of the best inland courses in Australia-parklike with plenty of bird life ) Both courses slope indexes of 127 - 130 and 6100 to 6300mtrs in length with well placed fairway and greens bunkering and fast greens.Both courses proved a good test of golf,but better scoring than Melbourne. Par 4s of 380-390 mtrs were reachable in 2 shots for the average golfer but staying out of the bunkers was the trick to scoring well. Some par 3s were of similar length to the 5th at Manukorihi and well protected by bunkering,with very narrow green entrances but no o/bounds.The par5's (up to 540mtrs)- needed big shots to reach in 3.

My golf improved each day-winning the super seniors best nett and the Founders Shield (donated by founding member of the Aust.L/Handers assoc. 50+years ago) for best nett across the field. Roger Maxwell (Urenui) took out the 'C' grade nett. On a lighter note many of the overseas visitors had never seen kangaroos in the wild before and the rules and pace of play official was bemused by them having their photos taken amongst them;especially a French player taking photos of 2 copulating kangaroos and sending them off to his friends in France-expected go to viral on social media.

To all Left handed golfers: L/handed golf associations from around the world are looking for members.Meeting players of different nationalities and the comaraderie is great,with invitations to play in their own countries national tournaments as well as world l/Handers Championships.If you feel young and enthusiastic,the world is open to you.Up and comming events are: the NZ National l/Handers Championships in Taupo April 2018, Australian National Championships in the Barossa Valley S.Aust. Oct 2018 and the World Championships in Germany in May 2019-followed by China in 2021 and France in 2023.Contact the local area rep.(Roger Maxwell -Urenui) for more jnformation.

Austin Wood.

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