A shift in the schedule will give Palmerston Golf and Country Club a chance to showcase its course like never before at the fifth hosting of the Tailor-Made Building Services NT PGA Championship from October 23.
Open borders between Queensland and the Northern Territory will allow defending champion Brett Rankin to return and seek a second straight victory but the inability for other Professionals to travel at present due to COVID-19 means the tournament will not count towards the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
For the past four years the tournament has been held towards the end of the dry season but when the likes of Rankin, Matt Millar, Jason Norris, Michael Sim and Aaron Pike arrive in two weeks’ time they will be presented with a true championship test.
“Normally we don’t have any rain leading up to the tournament dates in August but with the rain the past month taking care of the surrounds and other parts of the course that the sprinklers don’t reach, the whole place looks amazing,” said Palmerston Golf and Country Club General Manager, Matt Hewer.
In addition to the welcome rain, Hewer credits the work of Course Superintendent Scott Trembath for raising the layout to a new standard.
Having identified an issue with nematodes in the greens last Christmas, Trembath and his team have delivered greens that the Professionals will revel in.
“Scott is extremely good at his trade,” added Hewer. “We entered into an agreement with Scott and his team at Top End Greenkeeping three years ago and since then the course has come along in leaps and bounds.
“It’s incredible what he’s done and that’s purely through his expertise.”
A source of great pride within the Palmerston membership and surrounding area, Hewer says that by hosting the NT PGA the golf club is contributing to another major sporting event for the state as a whole.
“Our major events would be the Darwin Cup, the Supercars and we get one NRL and one AFL game and the NT PGA is another of the few national sporting events that we get in the Territory.
“We’ve had the Darwin Cup, we’ve had the V8s, we’ve had our AFL game and now we’re having this.
“This is our fifth year now and not only is it good for the Palmerston area but the fact that we have the chance to host such a high calibre of golf instils a lot of pride in our members.”
The former long-time Head Professional at Palmerston, Tony Albon will line up for his fifth consecutive appearance in the NT PGA just as excited as the visitors by the standard of presentation the course will offer.
“I’ve been here 25 years and the greens now are the best they’ve ever been. They’re mint,” said Albon.
“And I think the scores will be better because of it.
“The pros that come this year will notice a big difference in the grass coverage.
“Now that we’ve had a bit of early rain, the course is going to be in better condition than it would be normally in August.
“Scotty will be able to shape the fairways and the rough and with the work he’s done on the greens and some of the surrounds the course will be more playable compared to August.”
The Tailor-Made Building Services NT PGA Championship will be played over 54 holes from October 23-25 with pros competing for a share in $70,000 in prize money.