176 golfers from 66 of WA’s golf clubs have already arrived at Mount Barker Country Club for the festivities that stretch from Thursday to Sunday, culminating with the 36 hole championship on the weekend.
And it will take a more than special golfer to lift the prestigious shield; won six times by former state captain Michael Dennis, as well as former World No. 1 Amateur golfer Brady Watt, the current WA Men’s Coach Vernon Sexton-Finck and Minjee Lee’s Rio-bound coach Ritchie Smith.
Adam Davey, a former state player and champion in 1994, 1998 and 2013 is one of the heavily favoured golfers among the punters, but a fourth title seemed far from his mind of the eve of the event.
Sitting with Kalgoorlie’s Peter Gaby, a two-time state and national sand greens champion, Davey said the weekend was always a social event first.
“The golf is a bit of a secondary thing really, it doesn’t sounds right but you don’t come here to win golf tournaments,” said Davey.
“You come here to do what we’re doing now, and catch up with mates you haven’t seen for 12 months.”
From a competitive aspect, Davey lamented that state sands rival Michael Dennis was unable to compete this year due to injury with the pair sharing 9 titles between them.
“It’s nice to take something home and it’s a bit sad that Mickey D’s not playing this year as we always have a great tussle, but he’s still here for the opening days which shows you what this weekend means.
“And the course is great, albeit a bit wet underfoot, but there’s a lot of farmers here who are smiling and really happy that they’re having a good season, so we can put up with a little bit of water.”
Even the naming rights sponsors in Aglime break from convention for this event, with Aglime’s Dave Gartner more interested in promoting the Regional Men’s Health Initiative while building up events in regional areas.
“All the people who come down here are from communities who support our business so we support events like this to stand by our slogan of putting it back in the bush,” said Gartner.
“It’s just about camaraderie and everyone getting together. Last year we put $200,000 back into the bush, and this is one of our key events as it supports a lot of the guys who support us.
“And we love this event as it’s all about catching up and talking to your mate, which is the slogan of Regional Men’s Health, as these are the guys who can be there for you when times get tough.”