SBS New Zealand Provincial Team Strokeplay Championship/SBS Invitational Am-Am 2016
It is with great regret that Golf Southland’s SBS Bank Invitational Organising Committee have to announce the cancellation of the SBS Invitational Golf Championship after almost 40 years of bringing New Zealand’s best amateur golfers to Southland to compete in this nationally recognised provincial team championship played over 72 holes of strokeplay golf at the Otatara links since 1977.
The event has been under threat from northern provincial teams in recent years with scheduling changes around N.Z. Opens, and the N.Z. Stroke and Matchplay Championships. The Golf Southland Invitational Committee have gone about meeting these challenges with increased travel grant options and prize money for leading players plus a less demanding format for players on the Am-Am sponsors day. The SBS Invercargill Golf Course has consistently been presented in magnificent condition and provided an excellent challenge for the top ranked golfers and this has been acknowledged by N.Z. Golf’s Tournament Director Phil Aitken.
The tournament committee have appreciated the co-operation of N.Z. Golf in seeking to find new dates away from provincial matchplay events and a new proposal was submitted to all provinces to move the event to a March date in 2017 with a $10,000 increase to travel grants for travelling teams to attend. This was appreciated by many, however North Harbour, Waikato and Bay of Plenty stated that the event no longer worked for their high performance schedule due to time/ costs of attending with funds in their view being better spent elsewhere. Some other major Associations stated they would not attend if the field was depleted and was not a fully attended national Championship.
Therefore it is with huge regret that Golf Southland and the Invitational Committee have no alternative but to bring the curtain down on the staging of this championship which began in Southland in 1977 and has hosted New Zealand’s best male players over this time with the occasional cameo appearance from the N.Z. Women’s team, Australian state sides and in recent years the leading NZPGA trainee professionals team. It is simply unrealistic to endeavour to continue to run this premier national event without the support of a number of the larger provincial teams.
Golf Southland would like to thank local businesses for their support over the 40 years and in particular the SBS Bank, Invercargill Licensing Trust and ILT Foundation for their commitment to bringing national events to the province. We have been fortunate through the staging of this event and the annual Walters Wednesday Tournament to contribute considerable donations each year to numerous community charities in the Southland region over this time. It has been very pleasing to be able to contribute to the Southland community in this way.
We must also thank the hundreds of people who have served on the various Committees over the years to make this event the success it has been, the golf clubs throughout the province who have supported this Championship to make it so very successful and the many many people who have billeted players and provided them with memorable southern hospitality experiences.
John Griffin says “It is with great regret that we bring this news to all who have enjoyed and participated in the past. Hopefully with one door closing other opportunities will occur going forward. It is a real shame for golf in N.Z. that provincial District Associations can no longer operate under the system of supporting the decisions of the majority as in years past, with golf in N.Z. now run by a Board and District Associations simply meeting twice yearly for forums with no ability to vote and create binding resolutions for the betterment of the majority. This has resulted in Districts that don’t support the majority vote ( generally the larger wealthier ones) and who don’t like the majority decision, simply going their own way with no consequences other than the continued erosion of national unity in the game. This is a real shame for golf in general as larger and more money doesn’t mean better outcomes for all.”
Board member- SBS N.Z. provincial Strokeplay Championship/ SBS Bank Invitational Committee.
Board member of Golf Southland.
Golf Southland delegate N.Z .Golf Forums.