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Economic Benefits To City From Lawnmaster Classic

Economic Benefits To City From Lawnmaster Classic

Tuesday 8 January

A prestigious golf tournament to be held at the Manawatu Golf Club at the end of this month will have close to a $150,000 positive impact on the region.

An economic impact report prepared by Destination Manawatu for the LawnMaster Classic, from January 30 – February 3, 2013, predicts that the spend from players, families, officials and the hundreds of supporters attracted by the event will amount to $145,000.

Michael Williams, the General Manager of the Manawatu Golf Club, says the LawnMaster Classic, with Steelfort Engineering as its principal sponsor, is great for the city as it kicks off the business year and will benefit restaurants, accommodation, employment and the retail trade.

However both Michael and the President of the Manawatu Golf Club, Ewan Westergaard, say the event will highlight Palmerston North’s ability to stage one of the top golf tournaments in New Zealand this year.

For the first time the LawnMaster Classic has been included on the Charles Tour, the pre-eminent series of professional tournaments to which legendary golfer, Bob Charles, has added his name.

“Bob Charles wouldn’t have put his name to it and New Zealand Golf endorsed it unless they knew it was top flight,” Ewan Westergaard comments.

To achieve this, Ewan, Michael and a dedicated team of eight committee members have been planning for the Classic for the last 12 months.

With three weeks to go before the Pro-Am followed by the 72 hole event, the team is focusing on volunteer management, engaging key staff, commercial arrangements, publicising the event and completing the course alterations and enhancement. From the start of January they have been holding regular meetings to tick every box.

There is personal pride in ensuring the preparation is faultless for the LawnMaster Classic. Michael wants to look back on a tournament that sets the benchmark for what can be achieved in New Zealand and which heralds more ongoing prestigious events in the years to come.

“For me it means playing in a decent quality tournament alongside top New Zealand golfers, ensuring the Classic is well run and players, families and supporters will return the following year,” Ewan says.

Michael and Ewan have had a positive response from over 100 golfers with expressions of interest from prodigious talents such as Lydia Ko, Michael Hendry, Gareth Paddison, Mark Brown and Ryan Fox. They are currently negotiating with Manawatu luminaries such as Tim Wilkinson, Craig Perks and Grant Waite who are based in North America.

“We are hoping to firm up some of the drawcard names in the days ahead,” Michael says.

However without the leading sponsor Steelfort Engineering, the LawnMaster Classic would not be happening.

“We needed the name. A top flight brand is synonymous with a top class event and it was essential to confirm LawnMaster that’s been involved with the Classic as a quality amateur event for 23 years,” Ewan says. “Now it’s a fully professional tournament with pros and amateurs competing for the prizes.”

Managing Director of Steelfort Engineering, John McOviney, regards the LawnMaster Classic as a stepping stone to a professional career for amateurs and another chance for young and established professionals to play one of the most beautiful but exacting courses in New Zealand.

“It’s great for the Manawatu Golf Club, the city and region and the sponsors,” he says.


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