Byron Bay Golf Club course superintendent Shaun Cross is putting in the hard yards for this week’s PGA Seniors tournament.
Byron Bay Golf Club course superintendent Shaun Cross is putting in the hard yards for this week’s PGA Seniors tournament. David Nielsen

Course is in top shape for seniors

GOLF: The Byron Bay Golf Club greens are lush and the fairways fantastic, in time for the 2009 Fiducian Legends Australian PGA Seniors Championship this week.

Golf course superintendent Shaun Cross has had the busy task of ensuring the Byron Bay layout is in top shape for the championship, and has put in a lot of hours mowing and tidying up.

“There’s a lot of extra hours, because the grooming gets more intense as you get closer to the tournament,” he said.

Despite the hot, dry weather, Cross said the course was on track.

“We’re flat out running water around the place, and we’ll be on target if we get a shower,” he said.

“But we’re still slightly ahead of schedule compared to the past couple of years.”

Cross said he was looking forward to the championships and meeting the golfers.

“It’s been good the past couple of years, and it will be good to see Peter Senior,” he said.

“It’s definitely a highlight, and I can’t wait to showcase the course.”

During the tournament, Cross and his fellow greenkeepers will have the task of mowing the course every morning to ensure the speed stays constant, then removing all the leaf debris every evening after play.

“We want to showcase it and hopefully encourage other golfers to play on it,” he said.

And with the club being a ‘small country’ one, Cross said donations of mowing gear and products like fertiliser was a big help, as were club members who volunteered to help clean up the course.

“There’s been a lot of sleepless nights because you stress about getting the course perfect,” he said.

“It’s all basically timing and there’s only so much you can do.”

The course isn’t the only thing looking good with the pro line-up also impressive.

Byron Bay Golf Club captain and tournament director Mark Wilson said the field had been finalised, with 73 professionals signed up alongside 120 amateurs.

The line-up includes professionals such as Peter Senior, who just finished second in the Australian Open and won on the US Tour; Mike Harwood, who won the Australian Seniors Open last month; last year’s Seniors PGA champion Noel Ratcliffe; amateur-turned-pro Phillip Wood; and regulars such as Ossie Moore, Brett Officer, Randall Vines, Mike Ferguson, Graham Bannister, Craig Owen, David Merriman and Jeff Woodland.

“The field is a lot stronger than last year,” Wilson said. “Peter Senior is going to be the one to beat.”

Spectators will also be able to take advantage of the new deck at the clubhouse, and an amateur dinner will be held on Saturday night.

Tickets to the dinner cost $55. They are available by calling the pro shop on 6685 6 470.



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