Eighteen outstanding individuals and organisations were honoured at the 2023 NSW Golf Industry Awards at The Crown Barangaroo overnight.
Golf NSW, Jack Newton Junior Golf (JNJG), the NSW Golf Course Superintendents Association, Golf Management Australia – NSW, and the PGA of Australia – NSW/ ACT Division celebrated the finest contributions to the sport over the past 12 months.
Two of the State’s foremost prospects, Cameron Davis and Grace Kim, are the 2023 Golf NSW Male and Female Players of the Year.
Kim, a member of Avondale Golf Club, secured her first win on the LPGA Tour with a breakout performance in the Lotte Championship at the Hoakalei Country Club in Oahu, Hawaii, to claim Female Player of the Year.
Impressive finishes in the Women’s PGA Championship (13th) and the Women’s US Open (14th) saw the 22-year-old from Greenacre climb to a career-high 55th place on the Rolex Rankings.
US-based Cameron Davis claimed the Male Player of the Year award for his impressive run, which began with his appearance in the 2022 Presidents Cup.
The former Roseville local and an ambassador for Monash Country Club also made the finals of the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs this year.
Jim Byrnes received the Golf NSW Volunteer of the Year Award. As a team manager, organiser and benefactor, Mr Byrnes has been a stalwart of the St. Michael’s Golf Club’s representative scene for many years. A one-time director of the Little Bay Club, Mr Byrnes also readily volunteered time to support national events at the Club, including this year’s Australian Amateur and the Interstate Teams Championship.
The Services to Golf in NSW was awarded to retiring Golf NSW Board Member and universally respected Rules Official, Mr Frank Gal. The award honours his tireless contribution to the sport as an administrator and untiring dedication to the game as a rules official at events ranging from junior competitions and interclub Pennant to State and National Championships.
The Club of the Year – Country Award, presented by Australian Super, went to Charlestown Golf Club.
With a two-million-dollar high-tech driving range just recently opened, the Club has seen an influx of players of all skill levels take part, especially younger people and girls.
The Club has introduced several new membership categories to accommodate varying lifestyles while retaining older members.
Importantly, Charlestown thrives on an active volunteer culture, with members contributing to various projects around the course, including a ladies’ gardening group and a large and enthusiastic ‘dad’s army’.
Long Reef has experienced a remarkable period of growth and now boasts an impressive 3,000 social members. To underline the organisation’s commitment to inclusivity, the Club also introduced a provisional membership category, allowing more than 100 new members to join and ensuring accessibility.
On course, the Club introduced a bunker master plan. The $600,000 project commenced in April 2023 and should be completed before the year’s end while staying within budget.
Beyond golf, the Club thrives as a vibrant social hub, hosting 110 weddings this year and more than 120 other events, including birthdays, memorial services, conferences, and various celebratory occasions.
The Jack Newton Junior Golf (JNJG) Junior Club of the Year went to the Club Catalina Country Club. Catalina has numerous programs for juniors, including a Cadets Program, a Junior Program and an Advanced Cadets Program, which over 60 participants attend.
The Club also runs school golf days each week and takes pride in being the first venue in New South Wales and the ACT to endorse the TeeMates/Youth on Course initiative, making golf accessible for children at a mere five dollars a round.
The Club contributes to the junior golfing community by generously hosting various events, including the esteemed NSWPSSA Championship and the JNJG South Coast Junior Masters annually.
PGA NSW/ACT Tournament of the Year: Hawks Nest Beachside Pro-Am.
What started with a fledgling $11,000 purse, the Hawks Nest Beachside Pro-Am has been played for over a decade. This year’s tournament boasted an extraordinary $50,000 prize pool, making it a premium event on the Adidas Pro-Am Series Circuit.
Andrew McCormack, the resident Head Professional, and his team should be congratulated, along with all the team at Hawks Nest Golf Club.
PGA NSW/ACT Coach of the Year – Game Development: Jason Laws (Jason Laws Golf Academy).
Jason, a previous award winner, has nurtured and developed numerous golfers, many of whom have achieved significant success. Jason has played a pivotal role in shaping promising young talents and seasoned professionals’ careers.
PGA NSW/ACT Coach of the Year – High Performance: Khan Pullen (Golf NSW).
Currently the Manager – High Performance for Golf NSW, Khan is also the long-time Coach to Grace Kim, a winner in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour and a contender in the race for LPGA Rookie of the Year Honours.
PGA NSW/ACT Management Professional of the Year: Ben Russell (Long Reef Golf Club).
Ben is the General Manager of Long Reed Golf Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Under his leadership, the Club has reported a $1.4 million net profit over the past year whilst introducing a Bunker Masterplan, negotiating a new 30-year lease with the council and overseeing $800k compliance works in the Clubhouse.
Over the past year, Long Reef has held over 110 weddings, 45 Corporate Days and many more functions. The next six months will also see the Club take Proshop operations in-house.
PGA NSW/ACT Club Professional of the Year: David Northey (Concord Golf Club).
David is the Director of Golf at Concord Golf Club, a position he has now held for over two years after previously serving in the same role at Castle Hill Golf Club for over a decade.
When he arrived at Concord Golf Club, David aimed to ensure all experiences and services offered to his members were at the highest level.
Future Leaders Scholarship: Geoff Black – Elanora Country Club.
Geoff has over four years of experience as the Sports and Operations Manager at Elanora Country Club. He is a passionate member of the Association and a PGA member. Geoff’s desire to further expand his network and knowledge within the industry aligns perfectly with the goals of the Future Leader Scholarship.
Women’s Management Scholarship: Karah Chapman – Oatlands Golf Club.
Karah’s journey at Oatlands is remarkable, starting as a casual bar attendant in 2019 and swiftly progressing through various roles, culminating in her current role as Clubhouse Manager.
Her intelligence, drive, and infectious personality positions her to become a future leader in the golf industry, making this recognition well-deserved and emblematic of the type of leaders our industry should cultivate.
Fellowship of GMA NSW: Kieran Semple – The Coast Golf Club and Cathy Neagle – Elanora Country Club
Manager of the Year, Supported by MiClub: Andrew Laplain – Cumberland Country Golf Club.
Andrew has been instrumental in fostering a strong connection with members, conducting surveys, and maintaining open lines of communication. His commitment to professional development has earned him certification as an Australian Certified Club Manager.
Andrew’s unwavering commitment to his Club and community deserves our wholehearted appreciation.
Outstanding Achievement Award, Sponsored by Living Turf: Dean Hopper (Lakeside Camden).
Dean has been central to Lakeside’s major course reconstruction, including 18 greens, four new holes and an entire irrigation system while keeping the course open for play at all times.
Assistant Superintendent of the Year, Sponsored by Waterwise Consulting: Charlie Bolte (Cromer Golf Club).
Charlie has excelled in managing the daily responsibilities of the Cromer course team. He has been central to several key projects, including reconstructing the short game area and restoring the course following heavy rains.
His maturity is remarkable for such a young turf professional, and his willingness to undertake a task he wouldn’t ask someone else to do is a sure sign of a future leader in the industry.
Superintendent of the Year, Sponsored by Australian Turf Projects: Malcolm Harris (Northbridge Golf Club).
Malcolm has had a stellar career spanning 41 years at Northbridge, and his contribution to the broader industry has been immense.
Malcolm has rebuilt every tee on the Northbridge course and undertaken extensive bushland regeneration projects.
He has worked extensively with TAFE NSW in educating young turf managers, many of whom have become leaders in their fields.
Malcolm joined the NSWGCSA 38 years ago and was awarded life membership in 2021.
The complete list of 2023 NSW Golf Industry Award Winners are:
- Club of the Year – Metropolitan, presented by Nano Bubble Technology: Long Reef Golf Club
- Club of the Year – Country, presented by Australian Super: Charlestown Golf Golf Club
- Volunteer of the Year: Jim Byrnes
- Player of the Year – Male: Cameron Davis
- Player of the Year – Female: Grace Kim
- Services to Golf in NSW: Frank Gal
Jack Newton Junior Golf
- Junior Club Of the Year: Club Catalina Country Club.
- PGA NSW/ACT Tournament of the Year: Hawks Nest Beachside Pro-Am.
- PGA NSW/ACT Coach of the Year – Game Development: Jason Laws (Jason Laws Golf Academy).
- PGA NSW/ACT Coach of the Year – High Performance: Khan Pullen (Golf NSW).
- PGA NSW/ACT Management Professional of the Year: Ben Russell (Long Reef Golf Club).
- PGA NSW/ACT Club Professional of the Year: David Northey (Concord Golf Club).
- Future Leaders Scholarship: Geoff Black (Elanora Country Club).
- Women’s Management Scholarship: Karah Chapman (Oatlands Golf Club).
- Manager of the Year, Supported by MiClub: Andrew Laplain (Cumberland Country Golf Club).
- Fellowship of GMA NSW Recipients: Kieran Semple (The Coast Golf Club) and Cathy Neagle (Elanora Country Club).
- Outstanding Achievement Award, Sponsored by Living Turf: Dean Hopper (Lakeside Camden).
- Assistant Superintendent of the Year, Sponsored by Waterwise Consulting: Charlie Bolte (Cromer Golf Club).
- Superintendent of the Year, Sponsored by Australian Turf Projects: Malcolm Harris (Northbridge Golf Club).