Shinhan Donghae Open – South Korea

Nick got a sponsors exemption to play in the Shinhan Donghae Open in Incheon, South Korea between the 13th and 16th of September. This tournament has been played annually in South Korea since 1981 and in 2018 was a co sanctioned event between the Asian PGA Tour and the Korean PGA Tour.

Nick had another strong week finishing third on 15 under after four rounds in the 60’s – 68, 68, 68 and 65. The winner was Sanghyun Park from South Korea who finished on 22 under – it really was Sanghyun’s week – he only had two bogeys all week.

The tournament was played at the Jack Nicklaus designed Bears Best Cheongna Golf Club.

Watch the round four highlights here – ignore the bit about Nick being from Australia 🇦🇺 🙄

Round Four Highlights

After three great weeks up in Asia, Nick spoke to Phil Tataurangi, a fellow NZ professional golfer on Radio Sport and was also interviewed by Newshub – click on the links to listen and read the articles below.

Tee Time with Phil Tataurangi and guest Nick Voke on the Asia Tour -Radio Sport – 18 September 2018

Scroll forward to the 29th minute for the interview 😊

Kiwi Nick Voke targets US tour card after golden month in Asia – Newshub – 20 September 2018

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Qinhuangdao Championship – China

Nick posted his first win as a professional at the Qinhuangdao Championship held at the Qinhuangdao Poly Golf Club between the 6th and 9th of September.

He had rounds of 71, 70, 69 and 66 to be 12 under and tied with Stephen Lewton of England. They both parred the first playoff hole which was the Par 3 18th. They then played the eighteenth hole again with Nick sinking a 17 foot putt for birdie and securing his first win.

After a great two weeks in China he is currently sitting 13th on the Order of Merit. At the end of the season the top five on the PGA Tour China Order of Merit get playing status on the tour in the USA. The top ten are exempt into the final stage of the Tour Qualifying tournament from the 6th to the 9th of December. Those ranked between eleven and twenty five get an exemption into the second stage of the tour qualifying tournament.

Given the above there is a lot to play for in the final three tournaments of the year:

Macau Championship – Caesars Golf Macau – 27 to 30 September

Zhuhai Championship – Orient Golf Club, Guangdong – 4 to 7 October

Clearwater Bay Open – The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club – 11 to 14 October

Victorious Voke – NZ Golf – 9 September 2018

Nick Voke Prevails in Playoff in PGA China-Series – NZ Golf Digest – 10 September 2018

Video – the winning putt 😊

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Suzhou Open – China

Nick played in the Suzhou Open between the 30th August and 2nd September. This tournament was held at the Gary Player designed Jinji Lake International Club in Suzhou which is west of Shanghai.

The tournament had a few weather delays but was eventually won by Canada’s Richard Jung who finished on 21 under. Nick had a great tournament and finished tied for fourth on 17 under – he shot 7 under in his final round.

In Nick’s own words….

I was fortunate enough to get a sponsors exemption into the Suzhou Open – an event on the PGA Tour of China. The PGA Tour of China is a feeding tour for the tour (as well as the Canadian and Latin-American tours) and many view it as the best opportunity to secure status on the tour. In order to secure status, I would have to play a whole season. In my current situation, I was just happy enough to get the call up and put this tournament on my schedule!

I played fantastically. I don’t think I have ever hit the ball as good as I did this week. For the stat nerds out there – I averaged 12.8 (91%) of my Fairways and hit 15 greens in regulation (GIR). Eight of these greens in regulation were within 15 feet. Those are world-class numbers and I am thrilled to see progress in the areas of my game that I have been working on the most.

I had a great discussion with coach Chad Keohane in the week leading up to this event and we talked about a few key movement patterns that I should focus on – by simplifying it all into a few drills and using the ball flight as a measure of how well I was executing the drill, I was able to get a really good feel for the week. To compliment the ball striking, my putting inside 10 feet was rock solid (which is arguably my strength). It was a great week where things started to click – the challenge ahead of me now is seeing how well I can maintain what I am doing during this trip.

I am a little further north this week, at the Qinhuangdao Championship (also on the PGA Tour of China). Following this week is the Donghae Open in Korea (Asian Tour) and the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup (Asian/Japenese Tour). Lots of good golf ahead!

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Northern Territory PGA Championship – Australia

Nick played in the Northern Territory PGA Championship between the 16th and 19th August 2018.

The inaugural event was held at Palmerston Golf Course, Palmerston, Northern Territory, Australia in August 2016. It is a Tier 2 event on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

Nick finished in a tie for 40th on 2 under. The tournament was won by Australian, Daniel Nisbet who finished on 19 under.

In Nick’s words…

Darwin was a pleasant suprise. The PGA of Australasia had sent out an email warning us about the condition of the Palmerston Golf Course after it had been extensively damaged by Cyclone Marcus in March 2018. After speaking with some of my fellow competitiors, they all agreed that the course was fair and playable. Some of the greens were damaged and an estimated 500 trees had been removed but the course was better than we had all expected.

I didn’t play all that great. It is imperative at the Palmerston Golf Course to find fairways as the course is tight and lined with trees and wasteland. Unfortunately for me, I was fighting a few things in my golf swing and spent a bit too much time in the dirt! A few of my normal tendencies came out and as a result I didn’t give myself enough opportunites at a straight forward shot into the green – I had lots of practice hitting high hooks and low cuts into greens though!

There is one shot that I will remember for a while though – a high hook 60 degree wedge over some trees and onto the green from a concrete collection area within a hazard with the ball 2 feet below my feet. That was fun and a little lucky 🍀 😊. My round turned into a highlight reel of “how did I just make par?” I was proud of the amount of the grit that I showed out there and let’s just say that my one under par finish in the final round was one of my more efficient rounds of the year.

I’ve got a nice week off here in Auckland before heading up to Asia for an exciting month of golf. I’ve been fortunate enough to get two starts on the PGA Tour of China followed by two starts on the Asian Tour in Korea and Japan. There is lots of good golf ahead and plenty more learning opportunities!

Fairways and Greens.

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Fiji International – Fiji

Nick played in the Fiji International at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course between the 2nd and 5th August 2018.

This tournament continues to have a global presence confirming its position as an integral tournament in the South Pacific region, with the tournament being tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour.

Nick started well being tied for 5th after the first two rounds, unfortunately he didn’t go so well in the third round and finished the tournament in a tie for 33rd on even par. The winner was Gaganjeet Bhullar from India who finished on 14 under.

In Nick’s own words…

After a few months slugging away at the mini tour events in the United States, I headed to Fiji for the Fiji International. It was nice getting back to an actual tour event – the organisation of the events, the condition of the courses and the level of competition is much better on tour!

The event was held at the demanding Natadola Bay Golf Course. It is one of the more intimidating golf courses we play all year – the fairways are lined with hazards, the elevation changes are spectacular and the wind howls off the ocean. Lets just say that it is very easy to spray a few balls out of play.

With Devin on the bag I got off to a fantastic start – I was 5 under through the first 36 holes and in a tie for 5th place. I was pretty happy with how patient and optimistic I was staying out there – I was hitting decent golf shots and rolling the rock nicely. The odd mistake here and there wasn’t fazing me too much and I was happy with the game plan we had formulated.

Unfortunately the 3rd round wasn’t as kind as the previous 2 rounds. I played the first 6 holes well – I was 1 over par but playing much better than the score indicated. I then played holes 7 to 12 at 5 over par. It was a combination of hitting a poor golf shot at the wrong time and making some mental mistakes – hitting the wrong club, taking the wrong line, miscalculating the wind etc.. Golf can be a very brutal game at times and my 6 over par 78 in the 3rd round is proof of that.

I finished off the tournament with back-to-back birdies to finish the event at even par and in a tie for 33rd.

A fantastic exerience and result with all things considered. It was my first European Tour event and there was a lot of hype around it. I thought I managed myself well enough to contend, I’ve just got to sharpen up on my ball striking when I next find myself on the front page of the leaderboard on moving day!

I’m back in Auckland for the week before heading up to Darwin for the Northern Territory PGA. One of my goals for this year is to finish in the top 15 on the order of merit on the PGA of Australasia Tour and these events are an important part of that goal. The next couple of months will include some events in Asia and the qualfiying school back in the United States.

Fairways and Greens!

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Life on the road…..

If you are not on a main tour like the PGA or European Tour, the life of a professional golfer consists of hotel rooms, practice rounds and millions of miles in your car going from stop to stop.  I feel like I’ve spent my last 3 weeks living out of my car; 6 hour drives twice a week going from a Web Monday qualifier to a mini tour event to the next Web Monday qualifier.  I’m grateful that my trusty 2001 Toyota Corolla has made it this far!

It all started back in Chicago for the first Web Monday where I qualified for the Rust-Oleum Championship.  The week was awesome and it was everything that I had hoped the tour would be.  It wasn’t the biggest event that I had played in but it was certainly large enough to get me outside of my comfort zone.  I found there was so much going on that week that I didn’t expect or even contemplate – additional forms to file, product representatives to collaborate with, family passes to organize etc…  It was mentally draining to simply be there for the week.  A big Monday qualifier with lots to do Tuesday and Wednesday.  My game felt good heading into the tournament and I was 1 under par through 6 holes.  With danger lurking around the corner however, I got very intimidated by a few tee shots and played quite timid and defensive; my usual tendencies came out and I wasn’t fresh enough to bounce back as well as I would have liked.  My first missed cut as a professional but plenty to take away from the week with me.

After the Web event and a couple of days to recallibrate, I headed up to Minneapolis to a golf course called North Oaks for some practice and a practice round for an event I would play later that month (the only time that I could fit it into the schedule).  Practice rounds are a very important thing, they gives us an opportnity to plan the best way of attacking a golf course and something I will always do – even if the only time to do so is two weeks before an event.

After a successful couple of days, I drove down to Wichita in Kansas for the next Web Monday qualifier.  I teed off in the early afternoon with the wind getting up and plenty of low numbers already posted.  I played fine but nothing great – 1 under par but 6 shots back on getting into a playoff. The Web Monday qualifiers are historically some of the hardest to get through because you can go out and shoot 7 under par and lose in a playoff.  It is brutal!

After Kansas, I drove another couple of hours south to Tulsa in Oklahoma. There is a mini tour event called the Adams Tour – they host some pretty good golf tournaments for guys in between events and wanting to peg it up for 72 holes.  I was playing well through 36 holes – I was tied 3rd at 11 under and feeling pretty good.  Similar to the couple of weeks before this however, a few bad misses came out at the wrong time over the weekend and I was severly penalised.  I ended up 10 under for the event and tied 37th. A rough finish to a great start.

Taking the positives out of the first couple of rounds, I drove up to St. Louis in Missouri for the next Web Monday qualifier. We had perfect conditions in the early morning and I was 7 under par through 14 holes.  I got off to a great start but then hit a bad tee shot off the par 3 15th and made a sloppy bogey.  On the par 3 17th hole, knowing that I needed at least one birdie coming home, I hit a beautiful 8 iron to about 9 feet and rolled in the birdie put.  On the last hole, I had a short putt for par that would have got me into a playoff at 7 under but I hyped myself up too much for it and failed to focus on my thought on the greens for the week – I missed it right and had a long drive ahead of me to ponder how it all unfolded like that.

Following the short miss on the last hole, I drove 9 hours back up to Minneapolis for that small event I had already had a practice round for.  I was absolutely shattered when I arrived in the early morning.  I took all of Tuesday off and then pegged it up on Wednesday in the North Oaks Professionals Cup.  Again I got off to a hissing start being 6 under par through 12 holes.  Theres an old adage to “take one shot at a time” but my mind was racing to all sorts of crazy low scores with 6 holes to play with three of them being par fives.  I think the travel was starting to take it’s toll on me because I came home very poorly – 3 over in the last 6 holes to shoot 3 under and lose by 1 shot. Another really tough finish after putting myself in a fantastic position atthe begining.

There have been a lot of close calls over the past month or so – I am working extremely hard but am always coming up just that little bit short.  I feel this is a pivotal position to be in and I’ll continue to grit it out and grind as hard as I can and ALL OF A SUDDEN, one day, in the near future, I know that it will all click and come together for me.  It’s an exciting prospect and one I’m eager to continue working hard for!

I have a week off here in Ames to recover, recap and recalibrate before heading back out on the road.  On the horizon for me is another Web Monday, a PGA Tour Monday (the John Deere Classic) and a mini tour event (the Waterloo Open). I’m excited to continue learning and developing and I’m sure that some great success is just around the corner! The next big event for me is the FIJI International on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

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Genesis Championship – Korea

Nick played in the Genesis Championship between the 24th and 27th May. The tournament was played at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, Korea and was hosted by the Korean PGA.

Nick finished in a tie for 39th on 9 over with scores of 72, 75, 72 and 78. The winner finished on 7 under par. There were only seven players out of the sixty three that made the cut who finished under par for the week.

In Nick’s own words…..

The Genesis Championship was a great experience for a number of reasons. I didn’t have my A game – in fact I was really battling with the ball striking (pull, push, thin, fat) but my short game and course management was so sharp the whole week that it kept me within range of the top ten. I was one over par through 61 holes but played the last eleven holes in eight over. The wheels really fell off at the end and it wasn’t the greatest feeling. I ended up finishing tied 39th. There are some key things to be learned from the good and from the bad.

The Good : )

My mid range putting was awesome – I was reading the greens well, my stroke was flowing and I was hitting the ball with great speed.

My short game and scrambling were really sharp – I was scrambling it at 67% and feeling like I got a lot of them up and down (I missed a lot of greens and therefore had a lot of opportunities).

My wedge game was on point this week – in fact it was probably the best wedge performance that I have had in a very long time. The pins were hard to access with firm greens, severe slopes and tucked pins but my distance control from 60 to 140 yards out was sensational.

I believe that my course management kept me in the game. The greens were so tricky, firm and fast and the course played long (plenty of mid-irons) that a great shot was actually ending up 20 to 30 feet away from the flag at times. Devin and I would fist pump when we hit a 7 iron pin high and to 20 feet because it was the right shot shape ending up on the right tier with plenty of danger around the flag. Putting it simply – it was very easy to make a bogey out of nowhere and I only made 8 for the week – I just had a few too many double bogey’s from bad execution – mostly off the tee.

Devin and I also did a great job taking care of our bodies. We hit the gym, did recovery sessions and made sure that jet lag wasn’t a factor.


My ball striking off the tee and outside 160 yards wasn’t quite up to standard. I was fighting a straight pull for the first bit of the week with the full swing. To try and counter this, I did some work on the range aiming left and trying to swingout to the right and nuetralize the path. This seemed to work for a bit with the feels but then I started missing it both ways. I did some work after each round to try and get some feels for the following day – feels were having a stable right leg to turn into, creating some width from the top and having more of a rightward path. I hit some decent shots out there but the numbers say it all – averaging 9 greens in regulation and wasting 2.3 shots off the tee.

View from the hotel

My courtesy driver

Welcome dinner with KJ Choi

First tee

Driving range up the road from the course

The following photos are some action shots on the course:

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Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada Q School – Arizona, USA

Nick flew back to the USA in late March to play in the PGA Tour Canada Qualifying School.

PGA Tour Canada is a men’s professional golf tour headquartered in Oakville, Ontario. It was formally started in 1970 and was initially known as the Peter Jackson Tour, and became the Canadian Professional Golf Tour in 1986. The U.S. PGA Tour took over operation of the tour on the 1st November 2012, at which time it was renamed PGA Tour Canada. Historically, it has been commonly known as the Canadian Tour.

In 2015, Mackenzie Investments became the tour’s umbrella sponsor. For the next six years the tour will be named the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Canada.

There are five qualifying tournaments for this tour – four are held in the USA and one in Canada in March and April. Nick played in the one held at the Wigwam Golf Resort – Gold Course in Phoenix, Arizona.

The qualifying tournaments consist of four rounds with no cut. The winner gets full exemption to play on the PGA Tour Canada for the next year. Those in the top sixteen get an exemption through the first four events. A reshuffle then occurs based on how well they have been playing. Those in the top forty are conditionally exempt meaning they may get some starts in tour events depending on the tournament and the numbers.

Despite a committed effort in all four rounds, Nick unfortunately came up short. He finished on four over and in a tie for fifty. The winner, Michael McGowan won in a play off and finished at eight under.

In Nick’s words…

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite have my best stuff for the Canadian Q-School and have missed my opportunity to earn status for the upcoming summer. It was just one of those weeks; a little off with the ball striking, a cold putter and some poor decisions at critical times. The golf course was fair and scorable with generous fairways and pure greens. Devin and I battled hard to try and plot our way around with the game that we had but unfortunately the golf course had other plans for us – thats just the way it goes sometimes. I shot 4 over par and the cut to earn guaranteed starts on tour was 3 under par. Bugger!

In my time playing golf, I’ve come to understand that the journey towards great golf is more of a marathon than a sprint. Its about accepting the innate difficulty of the game and that performance will not always be perfect. That is also the beauty of the game – you are constantly learning and striving to get better. Good weeks will happen and so will bad. The key is to learn from the bad weeks, adjust the plan accordingly and use the adversity to fuel the fire.

I’ve had a tremendous start to my professional career and last week was simply a little blip in an otherwise upward trending process. I am using the next couple of weeks to relocate back to Iowa State. I see this as the best place for my development with the upcoming warmer climate, support team and the facility and resources that I available to me in Ames.

Looking forward, there are some local events to compete in but nothing really serious until the Australasian tour goes to Fiji for the Fiji International in August. I am working hard to secure playing opportunities elsewhere and have a few options that I am looking into.

I look forward to keeping you posted over the Northern Hemisphere summer as my plans unfold. Follow me on Facebook – Nick Voke Golf

Wigwam Golf Resort

The Wigwam Golf Resort has three world class courses – Gold, Blue and Red. The Gold Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior. It is rugged and mature with abundant sand traps and narrow fairways leading to small, hard greens. The course has been in play since 1965 and has been recognised as one of Arizona’s most challenging and respected golf courses – it is nicknamed “Arizona’s Monster”.

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ISPS Handa New Zealand Open – Queenstown, New Zealand

The New Zealand Golf Open was held on two of New Zealand’s most spectacular courses, Millbrook Resort and The Hills, between the 1st and 4th March. The tournament is sponsored by ISPS Handa.

International Sports Promotion Society (known as ISPS or as ISPS Handa) is a corporation designed to carry out activities contributing to social welfare and international co-operation through the promotion of sports and sports values. Founder Dr Haruhisa Handa is known as ‘The Father of Blind Golf in Japan’ due to the leading role he played in introducing the game of blind golf to the country.

ISPS Handa has a long history of supporting golf events around the globe, sponsoring tournaments on almost every major golf tour including the European Tour, PGA Tour, European Senior Tour, Asian Tour, Legends Tour, LPGA, Ladies European Tour, Japan PGA, Sunshine Tour, Golf Australia and the Australasian PGA. ISPS Handa has expanded to advocate for the recognition of differently-abled golfers, such as wounded veterans, in addition to blind golf. ISPS Handa offers training academies and inclusion opportunities in co-operation with some of golf’s most prestigious events.

ISPS Handa is a strong advocate for the ‘power of sport’ and its ability to create hope, to inspire people, and transform society. It is this conviction that has been the backbone of ISPS ‘s dedication to providing opportunities for blind and disabled golfers worldwide, with the long-term aim of enabling golf to become a Paralympic sport.

The ISPS Handa New Zealand Open is a Tier One event co-sanctioned by the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour.

The tournament will include a minimum field of 140 amateurs and 140 professionals playing alongside one another.  The professional golfers will compete for the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open title whilst simultaneously a pairing of one professional and one amateur will play a best-ball format for the New Zealand Pro-Am Championship.

The field will be split across The Hills and Millbrook Resort for the first round of competition with all players alternating to the other course for the second round.

After the second round the top 60 + ties professionals will continue to the final two rounds of the tournament to be played at Millbrook Resort.

For the Pro-Am teams, the top 40 pairings will progress to compete in round three at Millbrook Resort, before a third round cut will see the top 10 Pro-Am teams progress to the final round at Millbrook Resort.

The tournament is unique in the Asia Pacific region with the Pro-Am format allowing amateurs to play inside the ropes during the heat of competition.

The tournament was a great success enjoyed by the players and spectators alike. Nick did well in his first NZ Open as a professional finishing as the top NZ player in a tie for 7th on 20 under par with rounds of 66, 68, 65 and 66. The winner was Daniel Nisbet from Australia who finished on 27 under par.

In Nick’s own words …

The New Zealand Open was a special tournament – it was my first time competing in our national open. To make it even more special I was paired with a superstar of our game – KJ Choi. My family came down from Auckland to watch and it was played in one of the most beautiful places on the planet! It was a specatuclar week and I played some very solid golf – I was finding fairways, throwing darts with my irons and holing some good putts. It was a whole lot of fun out there.

It is a tradition at the NZ Open that the players are recognized by the audience as they walk onto the 18th green – the two American’s I was playing with went first and were announced with some claps and whistles from the crowd. As I approached the green, Terry (the announcer) turned it up a notch and yelled out “AND FROM NEW ZEALAND” and the crowd started going nuts! I took off my hat after hearing my name and looked around at the people surrounding the putting green – everyone was on their feet as they welcomed and congratulated me on my week. It was a special feeling and sent shivers down my spine. Luckily, I kept my composure and 2 putted from about 40 feet to make my par 😅.

I’ve had the past week off training and am eager to get back into it. I head to Arizona on the 26th of March for the Canadian Q-school. My plan is to get playing status on the MacKenzie Tour in Canada and have a good season. This could open up some opportunities on the Tour which is where I want to be.

The support following the NZ Open has been incredible – the messages, calls and comments online have been awesome. It is great knowing that so many people are behind me and genuinely want to see me succeed. I plan on doing just that 💪🏻😊.

The attached links detail NZ Golf’s coverage of the tournament:

Kiwi Kids to Feature at NZ Open – 28 February 2018

Bateman leads Kiwi contingent in low scoring affair – 1 March 2018

Hillier & Wilkinson impress as Australians dominate – 2 March 2018

Round of a lifetime gives Daniel Hillier a chance at NZ Open – 3 March 2018

Scintillating final round earns Daniel Nisbet New Zealand Open Title – 4 March 2018

Millbrook Resort

Designed by renowned professional and master golfer Sir Bob Charles, and renovated by Greg Turner in October 2010, this 27 hole championship course offers three different 18 hole combinations. Set on 500 acres, Millbrook’s course is best described as a mix between the world-class immaculately manicured “Parklands” courses and “Links” courses, offering a variety of natural hazards and stunning scenery.

Set in a natural alpine amphitheatre against the backdrop of the Remarkables Mountain Range, the golf course at Millbrook exploits the dramatic terrain fully, delivering world-class golf. Played across the Arrow and Coronet nines, competitors in theNew Zealand Open will face a stern test of strategy, skill and composure.

The Hills

The Hills was designed by Darby Partners and opened in 2007 to host the New Zealand Open. Set over 500 acres of land across a glacial valley the layout highlights the dramatic elevation changes and rocky schist outcrops that are a feature of the area. The course is owned by New Zealander Sir Michael Hill, founder of Michael Hill Jewellers.

A keen sponsor of the arts, Sir Michael believes we are only limited by the extent of our imagination. Sir Michael has created this contemporary sculpture park to house a diverse range of works. Pieces to date are mainly Australasian, but ‘The Wolves are Coming’, a major work from China is the start of expanding the collection internationally.

History of the New Zealand Open

The New Zealand Amateur Championship had been played since 1893 and at the 1906 championship meeting in Christchurch it was decided to hold a 36-hole Open Championship at the championship meeting in 1907, “open to any professional or amateur in any part of the world” with prizes of £25 and £10 for the leading professionals. The 1907 championship meeting was held at Napier Golf Club. The first round of the Open was played on the morning of 10 September, the amateurs also competing in a club team event. The professional David Hood and amateur J. Carne Bidwell led with rounds of 80. A handicap event was held on the following day and the second round of the Open was played on the morning of 12 September. The amateur Arthur Duncan had a second round of 76 to win with a score of 159, seven ahead of J. Carne Bidwell. The Scottish professional, Jack McLaren, finished third on 167 with David Hood fourth on 168. McLaren and Hood took the cash prizes of £25 and £10.

In 1908 the tournament was extended to 72 holes, and was won by Joe Clements, the first notable New Zealand-born professional golfer. There were no Opens from 1915 to 1918 due to World War I and the championship was again cancelled from 1940 to 1945 due to World War II. The Jellicoe Cup was presented by Viscount Jellicoe, the second Governor-General of New Zealand, in 1924 and is awarded for the lowest round in the championship. The Bledisloe Cup was presented by Lord Bledisloe, the fourth Governor-General, in 1934 and is awarded to the leading amateur.

In 1954 Bob Charles, who was later to become the only New Zealander to win a major championship in the 20th century, won as an 18-year-old amateur. He won again in 1966, 1971 and 1973, as a professional, and he and the two Australian major champions Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle dominated the event from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s. Other well known winners have included the American Corey Pavin in 1984 and 1985, and Michael Campbell in 2000. Campbell joined Charles as a major champion when he won the 2005 U.S. Open.

In 2002 Tiger Woods took part as a thank you to his New Zealand caddieSteve Williams, but he did not win. His participation caused some controversy when ticket prices were raised sharply that year.

The New Zealand Open is a PGA Tour of Australasia tournament, and in 2005 was co-sanctioned for the first time by the European Tour, which led to a doubling of the prize fund to 1.5 million New Zealand Dollars. The European Tour had co-sanctioned PGA Tour of Australasia events before, but they had all been in Australia, making this the tour’s first ever visit to New Zealand. In 2006 the event was moved to November, taking its place on the European Tour schedule for the following calendar year. The 2007 event was the last to be co-sanctioned by the European Tour, and with the tournament being rescheduled to March, there was also no New Zealand Open on the 2008 Australasian Tour. The 2009 and 2010 tournaments were also co-sanctioned by the Nationwide Tour, the official development tour of the PGA Tour. Since 2011 it has been solely sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.

Since 2014 the Championship has been a pro-am event. A professional field of about 140 play with an amateur partner for the first two rounds, alternately at The Hills and Millbrook Resort before the second round cut of 60 and ties. From 2014 and 2016 the final two rounds of the championship were played at The Hills but in 2017 they will be played at Millbrook Resort. The New Zealand Pro-Am Championship runs alongside to the main tournament in a best-ball format. After a second round cut the top 40 pro-am pairs progress to round three at The Hills, with a further cut to the top 10 pairs who play in the final round.


There had been competition golf played since 1893, but in the inaugural New Zealand Open at Napier Golf Club a record 130 players participated. The field included 123 amateurs and seven professionals and was dominated by amateur legend A.D.S.(Arthur) Duncan who became the first New Zealand Open Champion.


J.A.Clements from Wanganui was only 19 years old when he became the first New Zealand born professional to win. He went on to become prominent in the games development. He went on to win again in 1909 & 1912.


A.D.S.Duncan dominates at Christchurch’s Shirley course winning with a total of 295, a tournament record that would stand for 20 years. Duncan won again in 1911 at Belmont in Wanganui.


E.S. Douglas, a newcomer from Scotland won his first NZ Open in bitter conditions at Balmacewen. He went on to defend in 1914 at Auckland’s Middlemore course, then after the NZ Open was not played during the war years returned to make it three in a row in 1919. That event was back at Napier Golf Club. Douglas would win for the last time in 1921.


J.H.Kirkwood becomes the first Australian to win, being the only player to record all four rounds in the 70’s.


The Jellicoe Cup for the lowest individual round was presented by Earl Jellicoe of Scapa. The inaugural winner was A.D.S.Duncan with a score of 71. Duncan finished runner up to E.J. (Ernie) Moss in an event played at Middlemore. Moss would win again in 1927 & 1933.


Andy Shaw won the first of his seven New Zealand Open Championships. At Miramar in this year he beat E.J. Moss in an 18 hole play-off. Shaw went on to win four in a row, 1929-1932, 1934 and 1936. Shaw was truly a legend of the game in this era.

1930 Shaw’s winning score of 284 was a new record and bettered only once in the next 20 years.


The Bledisloe Cup for leading amateur at the New Zealand Open was presented by Viscount Bledisloe with the inaugural winner Brian Silk.


Scottish professional Alex Murray, having won in 1935, was sensationally disqualified after returning the best four round total. He had practiced his putting on the fringe of a green on the 8th green in the final round. Amateur J.P.Hornabrook went on to win in a three way play off. He would win again in 1939. Murray would bounce back to win in 1948 & 1952.


South African legend Bobby Locke wins at Balmacewen.


After returning from the war Bob Glading won back to back New Zealand Open Championships.


Peter Thomson wins the first of his nine New Zealand Open Championships.


18 year old amateur sensation Bob Charles stares down two of the best players in the world, Peter Thomson and Bruce Crampton to with the first of his four titles.


Australian Harry Berwick becomes the last amateur to win the New Zealand Open when beating Bob Charles and Stuart Jones by two strokes at Shirley.


Kel Nagle wins the first of his seven New Zealand Open Championships, in an era dominated by Australians, particularly Thomson.


One of the games greats Gary Player finishes 3rd behind Nagle and Thomson.


The New Zealand Open Championship becomes a stand-alone event and no longer played beside the Amateur Championship.


Bob Charles wins his first New Zealand Open as a professional. Played at Paraparaumu Beach and a strong field including England’s Tony Jacklin, Charles won by a record 13 strokes which still stands today.


Simon Owen wins his only New Zealand Open Championship at Heretaunga.


The legendary Payne Stewart traveled down under playing in the New Zealand Open. Stewart went on to win three majors before his tragic death in 1999.


Ian Baker-Finch wins his first national Open Championship, later going on to win the 1991 British Open.


Another future major winner plays in the New Zealand Open. Corey Pavin won at Paraparaumu and returned the next year to successfully defend his title at Russley.


Australian Rodger Davis sets the scoring record when winning his first of two New Zealand Opens at the Grange. He won by eight shots scoring 67, 62, 65 and 68. A young Jose-Maria Olazabal finished 7th. Davis won again in 1991.


It took a seven hole play-off before Irishman Ronan Rafferty beat American Larry Nelson. Later that year Nelson won his third major championship, the US PGA.


Greg Turner wins his first New Zealand Open at Paraparaumu by six shots. He again won in 1997 at Auckland Golf Club.


Grant Waite wins his only New Zealand Open and along the way making an albatross two on the par 5 18th at Paraparaumu.


The challenge with scheduling dates on the Australasian Tour mean an unusual year when two New Zealand Open Championships are played. Lucas Parsons won at Heretaunga in January and later in December Peter O’Malley was victorious at The Grange.


Michael Long completes his incredible haul of national titles adding the New Zealand Open to his Amateur (1990), Junior (1988) and Boys (1985) titles.


An emotional win for kiwi Matthew Lane at the new Formosa course in Auckland.


Michael Campbelll shoots 64 in the final round to tie compatriot Craig Perks before winning with an eagle on the 2nd play-off hole.


David Smail wins his only New Zealand Open Championship.


World number one Tiger Woods plays the New Zealand Open at Paraparaumu but the event is affected by a terrorist threat. Woods finished in a tie for 5th. Australian Craig Parry won the title claiming it to be the most important win of his career at the time.


Mahal Pearce produces four sub-par rounds to win the 86th Open Championship.


Amateur Brad Heaven nearly becomes the first amateur in 47 years to win the New Zealand Open, falling one shot short to eventual champion Terry Price.


The New Zealand Open co-sanctions with the European Tour improving the quality of the field. Niclas Fasth wins in a play-off at Gulf Harbour.


The New Zealand Open moves to The Hills for the next three years. This is the final year of the European co-sanction, but is replaced for the next two by the USPGA secondary tour (Nationwide) co-sanctioning. Bob Charles becomes the oldest player to make the cut in an official European Tour event, aged 71.


Despite the February 2011 earthquake which killed 185 people, New Zealand Golf retain Clearwater as the venue. Brad Kennedy wins in a play off from 2002 champion Craig Parry, while kiwi Josh Geary finished 3rd.


The NZ Open returns to Queenstown with the Hills and Millbrook co-hosting the tournament. The National Championship introduces a new innovative pro-am format where amateurs and celebrities play alongside the pros.


Jordan Zunic, only six weeks after turning professional, wins his maiden PGA Tour of Australasia title with an incredible -21 score


Australian Matt Griffin narrowly holds off Hideto Tanihara to win the Brodie Breeze Cup. Followed by Mike Hendry, Shunsuke Sonoda and Yoshi Fujimoto with all of the top five playing on the Japan Tour.

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Horizon Golf NZPGA Championship – Manawatu, New Zealand

The NZPGA Championship for 2018 was held between the 22nd and 25th February. The Manawatu Golf Club in Palmerston North hosted the event on its Hokowhitu course. The tournament is sanctioned by the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and carried prize money of NZD125,000.

The leading New Zealand player in the Championship will receive the Sir Bob Charles Trophy, which was initiated in 2015 and won by Josh Geary. Ben Campbell won this title in 2017.

The New Zealand PGA Championship has been played since 1920 although there were some years where the tournament was not held. It was originally a match play event and switched to stroke play in 1965. Major championship winners who have claimed the New Zealand PGA title include Sir Bob Charles, Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle and Tony Jacklin.

Sponsorship problems caused the tournament to be terminated after the 1987 event. In 2002, a PGA Tour of Australasia and US based Nationwide Tour co-sanctioned event called the Holden Clearwater Classic was started at Clearwater Resort in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was played again in 2003 and in 2004 the event resumed the name New Zealand PGA Championship. Co-sanctioning with the Nationwide Tour ended in 2009.

Nick finished in a tie for 7th on 13 under par. After a bad first round of five over he went on to have the round of the day in round two of 7 under followed by 6 under and 5 under. The tournament was won by Ben Campbell for the second year in a row – he finished on 18 under.

In Nicks own words…..

The NZ PGA was quite the adventurous week. I flew into Wellington straight from Brisbane, picked up my Jucy wheels and made the trip up to Palmerston North. We arrived just as Cyclone Gita was lashing the country – fortunately we were spared the brunt of it and we only had a little bit of wind to deal with.

We kicked off the first round with a 5 over par 76 – it was the most bizzare round I have played for some time. The golf course wasn’t playing too tricky despite the wind and I wasn’t playing all that bad. I was 2 over par through 11 holes and just shaving the holes with my birdie attempts. Nothing seemed to be going my way! I kept on reminding myself that I just needed one putt to fall or one favourable bounce and then I would be away. Over the last few holes I made a few more sloppy mistakes and all of a sudden I found myself at 5 over par. On the 16th hole, I hit a 5 iron into the greenside bunker and had a tough up and down. I knew that it could be a turning point as another bogey would almost guarantee missing the cut. I managed to hole a 7 foot par putt and parred the last two holes making my job a little easier in the second round.

That night a whole range of thoughts came to me. Half of me had started creating other plans for the weekend (should I go back to Auckland or take the weekend off) while the other half was still there to fight. I had no idea whether or not I could turn things around but I knew to do so I had to go low tomorrow; bomb the driver, wedge it close and make the putts.

The first two holes of the second round set the tone. On the 10th hole I hit driver, a 107 yard shot and had a 7 foot birdie. On the 11th hole I hit a 137 yard shot and sunk a 10 foot birdie. I wasn’t going down without a fight. On the par five 13th hole I bombed a drive down the middle and hit the flag with my 8 iron and had a tap in eagle putt. This got me back on the cut line. Things continued to go my way, I shot a 7 under 64 in the second round to be 2 under total and make the cut on the number. It was a fight back that I will never forget. What a change in events from the first round – golf is a funny game like that.

The weekend rounds were similar to the second round; I was assertive, confident and played free. I shot 65 and 66 to climb from outside the cut line and looking at flights to Auckland to a tied 7th in my first New Zealand PGA. The last three rounds combined for 18 under (13 under total) and showed me what I was capable of when I remain patient, embrace adversity and let myself play the game of golf I like to play.

The Monday following the even I flew down to Queenstown to start my preparation for the New Zealand Open. I have heard great things about the tournament and the town, I can’t wait to see what its all about and share it with you all.

Manawatu Golf Club

At 3pm on 11 April 1895 a group of Palmerston North citizens met at the residence of Mr L.A.Abraham.  Mr R.S.Abraham moved “That a golf club be formed to be called the Manawatu Golf Club”.  The motion was carried and the club was born.

Numerous similar meetings were held up and down the length of New Zealand in the 1880’s and 90’s and with a desire to get golf started as soon as possible, unfortunately, for one reason or another most of the original sites chosen for play proved to be unsuitable.  However, the founders of the Manawatu Golf Club were more fortunate in choosing Hokowhitu as the site for their club.  Championships are therefore being played on the oldest course in New Zealand.

Nine holes over 2773 yards were established for play on leased land and in 1904 this was increased to an 18 hole course by including the neighbouring polo ground. In 1908 the Club obtained freehold title to some 116 acres which included the polo ground and since then various land sales and exchanges have taken place and the present layout is on about 106 acres.

Although there were a few clumps of stunted native bush on Hokowhitu in 1895 the parkland course of today belies the original barrenness of the land which was strewn with stones in some parts and bog-like in others.  Converting land which had been grazing cattle and sheep into a golf course was a slow and often difficult process.  In this conversion the Club was fortunate to be closely associated with turf scientists working in Palmerston North from the 1930’s, some of whom were members of the Club.  Successive green keepers have enthusiastically embraced the evolving techniques of turf management and, as a consequence, the greens and fairways of Hokowhitu can now withstand all but the most adverse climatic conditions.

Early fears of flooding have been confined on a number of occasions and the worst occurrence was in 1941 when floodwaters swept through the main gates and immersed more than half the course.  Fortunately for the Club the need to protect much of Palmerston North’s residential areas has led to the construction of a substantial stop bank along the golf course boundary and the value of this was evident as recently as February 2004 when the Manawatu River came within a few feet of the top of the newly heightened bank.  However, the 16th hole which was on the river side of the stop bank remained at the mercy of the flooded Manawatu River and was inundated in 2004.

Initially the Polo Club’s pavilion located between the 12th and 14th fairways was used by the golfers as their Clubhouse and in 1903 the first modest building solely for golfers was cited on the present first tee.  In 1910 the Club engaged Natusch, a prominent architect of that time, to design a substantial Clubhouse.  Remodelling and reconstruction followed a hurricane in 1936, major additions were made in 1965 and further renovation and reconstruction was carried out in 1984.  In 2009 the club rebuilt the it’s clubhouse virtually from scratch after raising $1.2M in member debentures, gaining trust grants and raising a bank loan to pay for the new $2.3M Clubhouse. The only part of the old clubhouse was the back block which included a basement and upstairs lounge. In 2014 the club renovated the old upstairs lounge to the quality of the new downstairs area which completed the clubhouse.

Three golf course architects have had major inputs into the Hokowhitu golf course.  First, in 1928, C.H.Redhead, an Irish engineer at the time domiciled in Rotorua, was engaged to redesign the course layout which included extensive bunkering which remains a feature of today’s course.

In 1955 H.G.Babbage of Te Awamutu, engaged on the recommendation of the NZ Golf Council, made further substantial alterations to the arrangement of the course.  These incorporated the Defence Department’s disused Rifle Range as the15th hole.  Land exchanges with the City Council, to permit the widening of Centennial Drive, led to altered 10th and 11th holes.  In the 2000’s a new par three 4th hole has replaced a par three hole which had been played as the 8th. This hole is still at the club and is located towards the end of the practice fairway. This re-routing of the course prevented two par 3’s being played consecutively (7 & 8) and also allows the practice range to play a longer length.

In 2012 the club contracted architect Tommy Cushnahan to re design the 16th and work with Horizon’s Council while they realigned the stop bank and increased its height again. This meant the 16th hole would now be inside the stop bank and protected from the river. This new Par 3 was opened in November 2012. Cushnahan has also created new bunkering on 2 & 15 as established trees have been removed from these holes.

Hokowhitu hosted its first New Zealand Open Championship in 1922 with others following in 1930, 1946, 1957, and in 1973 when Sir Bob Charles, our renowned New Zealand left-hander, won the title.  Many major championships have been played on the course, including seven New Zealand Amateurs, five New Zealand Ladies Amateur Championships and several North Island Amateur Championships and Interprovincial Championships.  The Lawnmaster Classic has been a regular feature since 1985 and in 2013 became a Professional tournament as part of the Charles Tour of New Zealand.

Grant Waite, Craig Perks and Tim Wilkinson are notable professionals who were junior members at Manawatu before making their way onto the USPGA Tour.  This makes the Manawatu Golf Club the only course in New Zealand to foster and develop three players through to the pinnacle of professional golf.    Manawatu has seen a number of world class players stroll our fairways with the likes of Vijay Singh who played in the 1982 Pro-Am and the 2004 Open Champion, Todd Hamilton, who was here in 1984 as a member on the University of Oklahoma Golf Team which played in a 36-hole Team Event. In 2014 Manawatu Golf Club member Joshua Munn won the New Zealand Amateur Championship in Nelson. Josh continues the legacy of great players to have come out of the club.

From its beginnings over a century ago, continual development has converted Hokowhitu into a course which now provides a stern test of golfing ability in attractive park like surroundings.

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