Elite junior golfers from all over the state took to the fairways of Yamba Golf Club last week battling for state selection in the NSW Combined High Schools and All Schools Championship, bringing a welcome pre-holiday economic boost to the valley.
Yamba Golf and Country Club Operations Manager Chris Durrington said the annual event, last hosted by the Club in 2019, attracted more than 250 people to Yamba from Sunday to Thursday, with many staying a week on their first visit to the town.
“A lot of the families from Wagga, the south coast and Wollongong, they hadn’t been to Yamba before, so they are here for the whole week,” he said.
“They said they are having a ball, loving the town.
“They are all going out for dinners, breakfasts, beers and the like, which is great for businesses in town.”
Mr Durrington said Yamba Golf and Country Club was approached by Golf NSW to host the tournament this year for the third time.
“It featured students from all high schools in NSW combined, so its public schools, private schools, catholic schools, with kids aged from 11 to 18 competing,” he said.
“We had 130 golfers competing on the first three days and then they picked the top 16 boys and girls and they played in the final round.
“Out of that the top six boys and top six girls make the state side.”
Extra greenkeeping staff worked long hours to have the Yamba layout in ‘mint’ condition for the championships, Mr Durrington said.
“All the competitors love the course, they’ve said the greens have been just perfect, ” he said.
“A lot of the people have never been to Yamba, so they were blown away at how good the course is for such a small town.”
Mr Durrington said North Coast golfers Hollie Fuller, Ben Adams, Sam Adams, Nick Sneezby, Hannah Blundell and Yamba’s Tana Lowe played some impressive golf against the best golfers in their age groups.
“The North Coast side, which is Port Macquarie to Tweed, in the girls’ teams’ event they came second, which was huge,” he said.
“We had Hollie Fuller from Grafton, she was in the top seven, so she would have been close to making it into the team, but she got tonsillitis (on Wednesday) which ruled her out.”
Spectators enjoyed some amazing golf, Mr Durrington said, watched closely by Golf NSW officials.
“The leader Jeffrey Guan was off a handicap of +5 and he shot 5 under 67 on the first day and then 68 the second day,” he said.
“It was amazing, they make the course look so stupid, they make it look so short because they hit it so far.
“Even little 12-year-old kids were out there hitting it a mile.
“One of the girls putted for four eagles on one day, which is just unheard of.”
While no locals were successful in making the 2022 NSW All Schools Golf Teams, South Grafton High School’s Mathew McKee was appointed manager of the Boys team.
The captains of both the boy’s, Jeffrey Guan, and girl’s teams, Charlotte Perkins, were from Endeavour Sports High, Caringbah, Sydney.