What A Celebration - Gold Coast World Masters' 20th Year

The Ladbrokes World Masters, Australia’s biggest and richest international tournament for club golfers, hosted its 20th annual tournament on the Gold Coast in the last week of October. Tournament organisers Go Golfing promised big things to celebrate the milestone and delivered the Gold Coast’s 4 best courses, 280 daily golf awards, $120,000 in prizes, nightly 19th Hole parties and glamorous welcome and presentation dinners.

Many long-time participants rated this year’s Ladbrokes World Masters the best ever.

“Great fun from go to whoa” (Lorraine Clark, New Zealand)

“A real treat to play The Pines at Sanctuary Cove” (Laurie Littman, Melbourne)

“So many golfers and so well organised” (Lanfen Hsieh, Philippines)

“The comedian was sensational” (Tony Thomas, Brisbane)

“Magnificent prizes” (Patrick Mullens, Gold Coast) winner of a return trip to the 2016 Ladbrokes Masters including accommodation, flights and $5000 cash from Ladbrokes.

“Loved the entertainment” (Jenny Brooks, Melbourne)

“The Gold Coast World Masters is the highlight of my golfing year” (Julie Pigram, Derby WA)

For the first time the welcome dinner was hosted under the stars at Mercure Resort Gold Coast. Festivities got underway with a lucky draw for a $10,000 Go Golfing travel voucher won by Hiten Thakrar, of Indian heritage now living in Sydney and a member at Cromer. “I am still in shock, although my golfing buddies have plenty of ideas of where I should take them. The US Masters has always been on my bucket list and now I have a healthy deposit!”

Renowned comedian Kenny Graham, whose stage persona is an affable drunk, had the crowd in stitches regaling stories that may well have been fact or fiction. According to tournament director Mark Hawley, the entertainment is a vital ingredient to fostering great fun and friendship among participants. “Comedy works well on the opening night. Guests relax, laugh and that sets the tone for the week. Sporting a different theme at the 19th Hole each night, the Beach Party and Country & Western nights were a big hit. Egg and spoon races, exercise bikes and blow up boat races in the resort pool sparked competitive streaks. Craft beer and wine tastings, golf trivia, karaoke and live bands each night – there was no shortage of entertainment.”

Parties aside, 600 plus golfers teed off in the 4 round Championship. There are 15 tournament divisions based on age and handicap. You play with different golfers each day, but always with golfers your own age and similar handicap.

The four course rotation for all players was The Pines at Sanctuary Cove, Links Hope Island, The Glades and RACV Royal Pines Resort. While the tournament was celebrating its 20th year on the Gold Coast, this was the first time Go Golfing had been able to secure Sanctuary Cove’s private, members-only, The Pines course as a host venue.

57% of players rated The Pines at Sanctuary Cove as the best course they played, in spite of it having the lowest scoring average of 28.1 stableford points. Links Hope Island was the other standout course according to players with 35% rating it the best.

The tournament boasts a prize pool valued upwards of $120,000 and 252 golf prizes are awarded to daily winners across the week. Championship winners received upwards of $700 in trophies and prizes, including latest release Srixon equipment, Golf Buddy GPS, Golf World gift vouchers and beautifully crafted necklaces were an added bonus for the ladies.

Tournament sponsor Ladbrokes provided all participants with a free $25 bet on what state or country they thought the highest scoring player would come from. NSW and VIC were favourites, each retuning $100, while the payout on a ACT or Tassie win topped $350. Playing off 15, Ron Campbell from Castle Hill (NSW) scored 150 points, the best for the tournament, winning the Mens 66+ B Grade and big cheers from those who punted on a NSW victory.

Ladbrokes also offered a $5,000 cash prize for anyone scoring a hole in hole during the Championship rounds. While the tournament has yielded 18 hole in ones, including 3 in 2012, none achieved the feat this year, although Perth’s Judy Rosser aced the 15th at Arundel Hills in the practice round and was awarded $500.

The average winning score across the 15 tournament divisions was just 137 points this year, further proof that the handicapping checks and adjustments made by tournament organisers Go Golfing are delivering a level playing field. Mark Hawley was in high praise of the tournament committee, “We review the 6 month playing history of all players. Past winners play off a reduced handicap. Players scoring consistently well have their handicap reduced during the tournament. We have undertaken a lot of measures to weed out the bandits.”

Non golfing partners attend all of the tournament dinners and nightly socials and this year enjoyed a high tea, river cruise with lunch, Italian and French cooking classes.

Testimony to the event’s enduring quality, 91 golfers have now played in 10 or more of the Gold Coast World Masters while Glenn Dodds from the Sunshine Coast and Dennis and Lorraine Chidlow have never missed a year since the event started in 1996. Lorraine celebrated her 70th birthday during the tournament and Dennis’ collection of tournament shirts from every year added nostalgia to the 20 year event tribute displayed in the foyer of Mercure Resort.

This is a tournament with some amazing stats. Tournament host Peter McCarthy from Gold Coast based Go Golfing has shared some fun facts about the events’ 20 year history:

•   60,811 rounds played on the Gold Coast’s resort courses

•   An estimated 183,000 golf balls lost or hit into the water

•   $1.72 million in prizes including 8 new cars and 30 overseas holidays

•   4 weddings and no funerals – 4 couples who met at the tournament have got hitched

•   2 lawsuits resulting from golfers running down other golfers in golf carts (reportedly by accident)

Golf Fore A Cause, supporting Breast and Prostate Cancer Foundations were the beneficiaries from this year’s charity raffle. Go Golfing’s World Masters events have now raised more than $229,000 for cancer research.

Planning is already underway for the 21st edition of the Ladbrokes World Masters Golf Championship which runs 23-29 October 2016. Lakelands will return as a host course and organisers are confident of finalising The Pines at Sanctuary Cove, Hope Island and the redesigned Royal Pines which reopens just in time for the PGA Championship early December.

Australian Outback Spectacular, with a brand new production, will be the host venue for the welcome dinner. The gala presentation dinner will return to Jupiters Casino ballroom.

According to Go Golfing’s managing director Peter McCarthy, settling on an event package that suits the tastes and budgets of 700 people is a challenge. “Some want 5 star, others are on a budget. In recognition of this, next year in addition to the standard Tournament Package we will offer a Premium Package option. This optional package will include VIP seating with premium wines and beers at the tournament dinners, Club access at the host hotel, high speed internet access and a decadent 5 course degustation menu with matched wines.

Go Golfing, recently voted Oceania’s Best Golf Tour Operator again in 2015 at the prestigious World Golf Awards, is Australia’s biggest organiser of events, tours and holidays for club golfers. Established in 1996, Go Golfing has an impressive portfolio of hosted golf tours as well as Masters (over 35’s) golf tournaments. In addition to the Ladbrokes World Masters these events include:

10-15 Jan 2016 - Wrest Point International Masters, Hobart

12-18 June 2016 - Centara World Masters, Thailand

4-10 September 2016 – Accor Vietnam World Masters.

For more information on Go Golfing tournaments visit www.gogolfing.net.au or freecall 1300 55 28 55.

Major Prize Draw Winners

1. Pat Mullens (Glades, QLD) – 2016 Ladbrokes Masters, Gold Coast Package including accom + flights + $5000 Cash from Ladbrokes

2. Lynne Halberstater (Non Golfer) – 2016 Centara World Masters, Thailand Package including accom + flights

3. John Rattray (Palmer Colonial, QLD) – 2016 Accor World Masters, Vietnam Package including accom + flights

4. Ken Fergusan (Sun City, WA) – Wrest Point Masters, Hobart Package including accom + flights

5. Russell Gordon (Willows, QLD) – $2000 Cash from Ladbrokes

6. Paul Montie (Melville Glades, WA) – Noosa Springs 5 night package including golf

7. Kristin Griffiths (Virginia, NSW) – Parkview Melbourne 5 night package including golf

8. Robbie Clegg (Maryborough) - Terrace Downs NZ 4 night package including golf