Men's golf in the Nelson region looks set to benefit from the introduction of a new order of merit series and a revised Tasman Cup format.
With sponsorship from Nelson Golf Club professional Glyn Delany and Total Golf, the Nelson regional committee of the Tasman Golf Association has announced that it will run the senior and junior order of merit (OOM) series over 10 events in the first half of 2013.
Starting with last weekend's NBS Motueka Open, won by Ryan Chisnall, players will accumulate OOM points for finishing in the top 10 of the nominated events.
The top five senior players and top two junior players at the end of the programme will earn automatic selection to Nelson representative teams. They must have played at least six events to qualify for selection.
In addition to the scheduled Tasman Cup rounds, events that qualify for OOM points this year are the NBS Motueka Open, the Total Golf Open (February 16-17 at Motueka and Nelson), the Maitai Masters (February 23 at Waahi Taakaro), the Totaradale Easter Tournament (March 31-April 1), the Golden Bay Open (April 27-28 at Takaka), and the Waimea Championships (June 1-2 at Greenacres).
Nelson committee spokeman Norm Rapson said the OOM format would provide a further incentive for players to take part, and would give the Nelson selectors more relevant information on players' performances under tournament conditions.
This year and next year, the Tasman Cup format will also change, from an interclub matchplay competition to an interclub accumulative gross format.
Clubs can enter five senior players per round, and the lowest four gross scores will count towards the Tasman Cup.
The junior Tasman Cup will have four-man teams, with the top three scores counting.
Nine-hole clubs that cannot field a team in their own right can combine to form a country team in both seniors and juniors.
They can also invite up to two players from any other Nelson club to play for the senior or junior country side for the season, although this would disqualify those players from being selected for their own clubs' Tasman Cup sides.
Players not selected in a Tasman Cup club team will still be able to play in the round of Tasman Cup, as this is now a gross-based competition.
They can also accumulate OOM points.
The 2013 Tasman Cup series will begin with the opening round at Totaradale on April 21, followed by round two at Motueka on May 5, round three at Greenacres on May 26, and round four at Nelson on June 9.
"These changes have been made to provide a fair and equitable competition, but also to attract back to competitive golf those players for whom Tasman Cup timings have been difficult to meet in the past," said Rapson.
"The Tasman Cup will be completed inside seven weeks, at a time of the year when the weather is still good, and prior to representative requirements."
There will be prizes for both individuals and the winning club, from sponsorship to be announced shortly.
- The Nelson Mail