Hidden gem hosts tournament

FROM Michael Jordan to Shane Warne, the number 23 has always connoted sporting excellence and Toongabbie Golf Club’s 23rd annual open tournament promises to follow suit when it tees off on Thursday.

The four-day competition features a variety of scratch, handicap, strokeplay and four ball best ball events for men and women, with the 18-hole course in excellent touch despite recent rain.

Club vice president Phil Dibben said the tournament had continued to grow in accordance with the quality of the facility.

“It just gets better and better,” Dibben said.

“As the course has improved so has the attendance to all our events.

“It’s a blessing; we upgraded a couple of the greens two years ago and now they’re just coming to bear fruit for us.”

At 5828 metres, Toongabbie offers plenty of scoring chances, but many subtle threats in the form of treacherous treelines and deadly doglegs.

Committee member Bill Macpherson said the par 72 grass green course would offer a stern test to the anticipated field of 70 plus.

“There’s plenty of challenges on the course,” he said.

“It’s gotten a lot more challenging in the last couple of years because the height of the trees has gotten up; now the (newer) trees are above two club lengths there’s no (free) relief.”

The 394m par four 15th, dubbed ‘Gilligan’s Island’, will play a deciding factor in the tournament outcomes as the toughest hole on the card.

“It’s narrow off the tee and then your second shot could go in the water, so it’s a very challenging hole,” Dibben said.

The course has come a long way on the back of dedicated voluntary labour in recent times, and the committee is hopeful this event will showcase its transformation.

“Visiting members have been blown away by the improvement of the course,” Macpherson said.

“It’s surprising to me that what’s on offer doesn’t attract more players.”

For more information and entry forms visit www.toongabbiegolfclub.com