CHAMPION: Local favourite Jason Barby took home the North Coast Open in 2019 and will be hoping for his third title since 2017 in December.
CHAMPION: Local favourite Jason Barby took home the North Coast Open in 2019 and will be hoping for his third title since 2017 in December.

$50,000 early Christmas present for Coffs Coast golfers

LOCAL golfers competing in this year’s North Coast Open will have a shot at their share of a boosted prize pool as part of a push to bring qualifying tournaments to regional NSW.

Originally slated to be held in September, this year’s North Coast Open will officially get underway on December 9 and will be the first in a series of regional qualifiers for the NSW Open.

The increased purse of $50,000 is expected to attract more golfers to what is Coffs Harbour’s premier golf tournament.

Last year’s ‘Norco’ was won by local golfer Jason Barby, who overcame a tense playoff to claim his second title in three years.

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh said the NSW Government has been working with Golf NSW to bring qualifying competitions to the regions, investing more than $2 million toward them.

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh and Coffs Harbour Golf Club GM Paul McAra. Photo: Craig McTear
Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh and Coffs Harbour Golf Club GM Paul McAra. Photo: Craig McTear

There will be a total of six held across the state.

“These NSW Open qualifiers will help regional communities like ours hit hard by drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19,” Mr Singh said.

“I’m proud Coffs Harbour Golf Club has been selected as a host and I congratulate their hardworking board, management, staff and members on this terrific outcome.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said bringing the NSW Open qualifying tournament to Coffs Harbour will help boost tourism.

“Golf clubs are an essential part of regional sporting communities across the state and for the first time the NSW Government and Golf NSW are providing an option for regional clubs to host qualifying events for the NSW Open,” he said.

“Usually professional and amateur golfers have to travel to Sydney to qualify for the NSW Open but this allows them to do so in their own backyard, bringing tourism to the regions and valuable economic dollars to boost local coffers.”