WHAT started as just a golfing experiment amongst Maclean Golf Course's fairways and greens has quickly blossomed into the annual Maclean Ladies Open Day.
Running for around four years, a field of around 120 women golfers is expected to compete across the two-day open, beginning with a four-ball tournament today and finishing with a stroke play/stable ford competition tomorrow.
It is an event which Maclean ladies secretary Jenny Apps has become accustomed to looking forward to.
“We have always had an open day but other clubs were running it for two days and so we thought we could do it too,” she said.
“It gives players the chance to take a look at the course and see what they are getting themselves into if they decide to get serious.”
With players travelling form Woolgoolga, Glen Innes and Twin Towns, as well as golfers from the local area, teeing off, the open is on track to becoming a window for talented golfers on the North Coast.
“We have the full spectrum of handicap players ... from the lower (handicaps) right up to 43 and 45,” Apps said.
“We have one kid who has got special permission to have two days off from school so she could play.”
The sight of junior golfer amongst the field may be a sight for sore eyes, but according to Apps, will hopefully be the start of a new trend in the women's competition.
“We are doing all we can to get school children playing ... because the children are really the future of golf,” she said.
“The good thing is they can start young and keep playing the game for such a long time.
“Somebody once said to me 'golf is the game of life' and that is very true.”
An influx of youngsters onto the greens could be the tonic for a club which has lost a small number of members over the past year.
“We've had a little bit of contraction with people getting older and giving up,” Apps said.
“They are moving away, wanting to be closer to families ... taking that trip around the country they have been planning.
“(But) it's not just particularly happening to us, but all over the country.”
Even the economic downturn has been noted as a reason why some members were leaving their clubs in the cupboard.
“I think a lot of them have gone back to work to pay off the mortgage,” she said.
“While they're working grandmothers can't come and play because they have to look after the grandchildren.
“It's a real Catch-22.”