History has been made with staff from the PGA of Australia and Golf Australia moving in together at the plush, new Australian Golf Centre in Melbourne, reports Martin Blake from Golf Australia.
Melbourne-based staff from both national organisations had their first day in the new AGC which is part of an $18.8 million redevelopment at Sandringham golf links.
PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman told the staff that the blending of the two organisations was so significant that it was being monitored throughout the world of golf. “Can I tell everyone in the room that we’re part of history, because this is quite unique what we’re doing,” he said.
“We’re being watched by a lot of people around the world at the moment. It comes back to we’re doing it for the betterment of golf. We’re being watched by the tours, by the PGAs, the R&A, the USGA, all the federations around the world. I think it’s going to be interesting it could settle the theme for changes in golf globally, what we’re doing here at the moment.”
Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the new alignment between the major bodies was about pushing golf towards its potential, and that GA and the PGA were “here for a reason” at the new centre.
“That’s because we believe that golf has incredible potential in this country and we’re on a great journey together,” said Sutherland. “It is a great time to be working in golf in Australia. This is a landmark day for Australian golf. In fact, as Gavin said people all over the world are watching what we do together.
“In my mind, it all comes back to potential. It’s about believing what our potential is as a sport. We are nowhere near our potential. But our potential is achievable. But we can’t do it alone. We have to do it together.”
The new facility was largely funded by the Victorian Government and also includes a high- performance training centre and is part of the Sandy Golf Links facility which includes an 18-hole course and a driving range.
Kirkman said the first talks between the bodies and the Victorian Government dated to 2012, with land sought at Elsternwick, Albert Park and more recently at Sandringham in the famous sandbelt. Noting that staff were blended together rather than separated, he said it was now up to the PGA and GA to drive the game forward together.
“We’ve got to let go of the vulnerabilities,” said Kirkman. “That’s’ where we’ve got to drop our guard, let everything go, bring everything to the table.”