South West Rocks Country Club Pro-Am

Glorious conditions and a picture perfect course greeted players at the 4th annual South West Rocks Country Club PGA Pro-Am event on Friday.

A field of 168, including 42 seasoned professionals, converged on the scenic coastal village to to take part in the tournament, which offer amateurs the opportunity to rub shoulders with leading players from around Australia.

They were competing for a share of $11,000 in prize money, with the winner to pocket close to two grand.  

With a single Stableford scoring system in play, half the field teed off in the morning with the other half to complete their 18 holes in the afternoon.

Bonville local Richie Gallichen led the morning field after hitting an impressive one under par 71.

However, his grip on the title and the cash was short-lived with James Nitties and Dale Williamson the eventual winners, shooting two under par 70.

In the amateur competition Brodie Clarke took out A grade with 39 points, Craig Mutton clinched B grade with 43 points and Daniel Traynor won C grade with 37 points.

Professional golfer James Nitties, who won the event two years ago, was thrilled to be playing the South West Rocks’ course once again.

“It’s a spectacular destination,” he said.

“If you don’t like a perfect day, on a beautiful golf course, there is something wrong with you.”

Mr Nitties, who was rounding the course with the men from Kempsey Toyota, values the Pro-Am format because it offers him additional practice in a competition setting.

“I’m not the type to spend a lot of time on the range, so it’s a good opportunity to practise.

“With one day events you just have to go as low as you can, and be as quick as you can and hopefully you end up on the podium at the end of the day.”

Luke Ottaway from Kempsey Toyota said the day was a great opportunity to not only discuss the game of golf with a professional, but also to learn more about that person’s journey and what it takes to move up in the game.

“Golf is a very cutthroat sport, not a lot of people make it,” Mr Ottaway said.

Mr Ottaway said the Pro-Am is a thriving event and his company are just happy to be part of it.

South West Rocks Country Club professional Shaun Piper said the event had been enthusiastically supported by all involved.

“In terms of the whole day, it’s been a success,” he said.

“The country club, the golf club, all of the members, invited guests and the PGA representatives have wholeheartedly embraced the concept and the Pro-Am is a great format to allow members to experience playing alongside the professionals.

“From the members point of view, they love having the pros play our course.”

Mr Piper boasted that many of the pros had spoken highly of the quality of the greens, and he praised the greens keepers, headed by superintendent David Hobday, for their meticulous preparation of the course.

“Considering the dry weather they have done a great job getting the greens up to standard,” he said.

"We’ve already had positive feedback from guys who play golf all around Australia and internationally.

“One bloke said the greens are world class.

“Another said they are the best greens north of Sydney that he has ever played on.”

Mr Piper thanked everyone who made the event possible including the country club staff and board of directors, as well as all of the committed volunteers and the major sponsors (Triple M, Tooheys, Kempsey Toyota and Coca Cola).

“Once this event is finished, we start thinking about next year straight away,” he said.