Ballina Pro-Am brings out the best
By STEVE SPINKS
THERE'S the grizzled veteran and the fresh-faced amateur.
That's the beauty of a golf Pro-Am according to Ballina's Paul Selman.
Selman is one of the co-ordinators for this weekend's $20,000 Ray White Real Estate Seniors Pro-Am at the Ballina Golf Course.
"The amateurs and the professionals have their own events but the senior professionals are a bit different to the younger tour professionals," Selman said.
"Younger guys are very serious with a heads down bum up attitude towards their golf.
"The senior guys are a bit more relaxed and I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few hints being given along the way."
Yesterday, Queensland's Allan Cooper was more than happy to pass on some advice to Ballina's Luke Watling.
Cooper is in town for two reasons. He will compete in the Pro-Am, but his company is also one of the exhibitors at the Golf Expo over the weekend.
Cooper works for Yamaha Golf Carts.
"He's playing on Saturday and Sunday, but one of his underlings will be dealing with the Expo," laughed Selman.
"He's been a professional for a lot of years."
Watling on the other hand is a 19-year-old apprentice green keeper at Ballina.
"He plays off a handicap of five and I'm not happy about it," joked Selman.
The Ballina Pro-Am swapped to a seniors event for Over-50s last year with great success.
Before that Pro-Am had been part of the Troppo Tour for young up-and-coming professionals.
Ballina can even lay claim to a prestigious former-winner. Greg Norman won the Pro-Am early on in his career.
Along with the first-rate golf being played, Selman expects a large crowd to flock to the Expo.
The Expo runs from 9am-5pm today and 9am-4pm tomorrow.
Selman still believes the money could stay in Ballina with local-pro Trevor Russell rated a good chance.
"It's Trevor's home course and he can still swing a very good club," Selman said. "He could sneak home."
However, Russell will have his work cut out for him with leading seniors players Mike Ferguson, John Clifford, Shizou Mori and Randall Vines all entering the contest.
All the professionals will be keen for a good outing with the Australian Senior Championship starting next week at the Sunshine Coast.