The Sandbelt Invitational will visit a new course to open the tournament in 2023, the first round on December 11 to be played at one of Australia’s finest courses, Victoria Golf Club.
Home club to Peter Thomson and legendary Victorian amateur Doug Bachli, Victoria holds a special place for the co-creators of the Sandbelt Invitational. Tournament host Geoff Ogilvy a member since 1993 and Tournament Director Mike Clayton spending years consulting the club on its design.
Ranked in the top-10 by both Golf Australia Magazine and Australian Golf Digest in their respective Top-100 Course Rankings, Victoria Golf Club has a long history of hosting tournaments, including as co-host of last year’s Australian Open with previous Sandbelt Invitational venue Kingston Heath Golf Club.
A brilliant tournament venue for both men and women, Victoria fits perfectly with the ethos and format of the Sandbelt Invitational, which offers playing and learning opportunities for Australian golfers in a mixed gender field comprising experienced players and the next generation.
“I couldn’t be more excited to take the Sandbelt Invitational to my home club of Victoria Golf Club,” Ogilvy said.
“Since the green replacement program was completed, you would struggle to find better putting surfaces around the country and the mix of strategic short holes and longer tests will provide a terrific canvas for this year’s players.”
Measuring 6,304 metres from the back tees, Victoria Golf Club’s collection of par-3s is renowned around the Sandbelt, while people coming to watch the Sandbelt Invitational this year will no doubt find plenty of entertainment at the short par-4 15th.
“Taking the Sandbelt Invitational to a new venue is a great opportunity to showcase even more of the tremendous golf on offer around Melbourne’s brilliant Sandbelt region,” Clayton said.
“Many of our players will be familiar with Victoria Golf Club from last year’s Australian Open, amateur events and other tournaments, but we are proud to bring our unique format and field to such a magnificent course.
“Victoria Golf Club have been welcoming of The Game previously and it is fantastic that they are willing to support this event in 2023 as well.”
Originally designed for the current site in 1927 at Cheltenham by Oscar Damman and William Meader, with some help from the legendary Dr Alister MacKenzie, Victoria holds a special place in Australian golf through hosting four men’s and women’s Australian Opens each, two Australian Masters and one Australian PGA Championship.
The Sandbelt Invitational players surely reminded of the club’s history when teeing off under the watchful eye of the Peter Thomson statue to kick start the 2023 tournament.
Thomson himself a great mentor to younger players in the spirit of the Sandbelt Invitational, which owns a unique connection to his home club in co-designer Meader’s great grandson Brian McNamee, who is the Chairman of the Geoff Ogilvy Foundation.