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Four years in the planning, with 2018 being the 35th year of this annual event. A Tournament Committee comprising of 14 people. Players from every corner of the Commonwealth, with representatives from each of the 8 States. Final numbers of Entrants was 560 Players and 86 Non-Playing Partners. Players competing for a share of the total prize value of $116,000, including special prizes. A total across the 4 golf courses of some 200+ volunteers assisting in the operational activities including ball-spotting and bunker-raking. A valet service for golf bags using trucks together with courtesy shuttle buses to ferry Players from selected pick-up points to the golf courses. Organised day trips for Non-Playing Partners over each of the 4 golfing days; sight-seeing trip of Port Stephens, tour of Newcastle, visit to the Port Stephens Arts and Crafts Centre and to Murrays Craft Breweries. A Gala Dinner was organised for the Friday evening with 700 guests including state and local dignitaries together with special guests representing the AVGU and the sponsors who provided financial support to the event.

Pacific Dunes, Horizons and Nelson Bay Golf Clubs were the playing locations for the 18 and 54 hole events with Muree Golf Club included in Monday’s Social 4BBB activities. Players were competing in daily competitions in Individual Stroke and Stableford formats. In parallel there was a 54 hole events to establish the Men’s and the Ladies’ Australian National Veterans Champions for 2018. The winner in each category being awarded a Perpetual Trophy in recognition of their achievement.

Special Prizes were awarded following each of the two fields, am and pm, each day at each of the golf Clubs. In the evening of each of the 3 days of competition, there was a Presentation event hosted by Nelson Bay Golf Club where prizes were given to each of the daily winners; 40 prizes on the Monday, 24 prizes in each of the 3 daily events. At the Gala Dinner on the Friday, the National Champions were recognised, together with each of the Mens’ and Ladies’ Grade Champions. A total of 26 prizes were awarded.

This Nationally recognised event provided Port Stephens with an opportunity to showcase not only the natural beauty of the area, the beaches, the water, the flora and the fauna but the ability to demonstrate regional golf at its best. Comments from the Players were very complimentary to the ground-staff at each of the 4 courses. The 2018 event was an outstanding success, indeed was described as ‘the best event ever’. However, it is possible that the event will be remembered mostly for the sheer number of Volunteers, their efficiency, their courtesy and their enthusiasm.

David Birss

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