The NSW Open Championship
The New South Wales Open Golf Championship has a rich history that dates back to 1931, pre-dating the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
First held at Manly Golf Club, the tournament was played back then as a ‘close’ format championship, meaning it was open only to residents of New South Wales. Tom Howard, Sam Richardson and Charlie Gray finished in a three-way tie in the inaugural event, with Charlie Gray lifting the title after a 36-hole play-off.
The Open grabbed the NSW public’s attention during the Great Depression, at a time when many had very little to look forward to other than cheering on our sporting heroes. As the decade wore on, it quickly evolved into the tournament that ‘they all wanted to play.’ soon becoming one of the big three tournaments in our young nation sitting alongside the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship.
In 1958 the tournament finally became truly a ‘Open’ event, attracting the cream of Australia’s golfing elite along with appearances by some of the best players in the world.
The NSW Open Championship boasts an honour role that includes many of Australia’s finest golfers including World Golf Hall of Fame inductees Kel Nagle, Greg Norman, and Peter Thomson; Legends like Norman Von Nida, Eric Cremin and Frank Phillips, and amateurs including five-time champion Jim Ferrier, Owen Beldham, and Tony Gresham.
Other names to lift the trophy include: Ian Baker-Finch, Ted Ball, Billy Dunk, Peter Lonard, Jack Newton, Peter O’Malley, Craig Parry, Bob Shearer, Ian Stanley, Aaron Townsend, Ben Eccles, Adam Blyth, Jason Scrivener and Victoria’s Josh Younger.