Not all sand is the golfer’s enemy. Some of the Ladies European Tour’s biggest names got a first hand look at one of the Coffs Coast’s most iconic beaches during a promotional shoot for this week’s Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville.
Western Australia’s Hannah Green and rising Sydney golfer Stephanie Kyriacou were joined by England’s Meg Maclaren, Wales’ Amy Boulden and Swede Jenny Haglund for a tour of the Emerald beach and Mooney Sanctuary Headland ahead of the tournament teeing off Thursday and the verdict was a unanimous thumbs up.
“This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been and I’m not just saying that,” says defending NSW Women’s Open champion Meg MacLaren.
“I love Australia but sometimes as a golfer you don’t get to see the reasons why you love it so the chance to do things like this today help remind you.
“And this place is just so beautiful and so peaceful, it’s wonderful.”
Having travelled to most corners of the globe to play golf MacLaren said Australia, and the Coffs Coast, can hold their own with any tourist destination.
“I played in Colorado when I was in college in America and that mountain scenery was stunning,” she said.
“This is different but they are both amazing in their own way.”
She said professional golf involved a lot of travel but little tourism and she sometimes has to remind herself to make the effort to get away from the loop of airport-hotel-golf course. “Sometimes you get home after a long year and people ask where you’ve been and you list off all the places and think, ‘Wow, I didn’t realise I’d been to all those places’,” she said.
“So it’s important to make the effort and time to see a bit of the world while you’re there because otherwise you’ll wake up one day and realise you’ve been everywhere but seen nothing.”
Sweden’s Haglund agrees and has even adopted a semi regular Instagram and Twitter hashtag to remind her to ‘smell the flowers along the way’, as Walter Hagen so famously said.
“I try to see one thing every trip that represents the area where we are,” she said of her #seeonethingeverytrip hashtag.
“Even if it’s just a beach or a park or a trip to the city for the day it’s really important to get away from golf and see or do something else.
“Sometimes if I’m playing four weeks in a row or something I’ll feel a bit tired and not want to do anything but once you’ve made the effort you realise it actually energises you.
“It’s a bit like going to the gym when you don’t feel like it, you’re always glad you did afterward and feel better for it.”
She said the Coffs Coast was among the prettiest places she’s been in the world with the islands of the Azores in Portugal and parts of Hawaii also among her favourites.
“I’ve been to St Andrews as well but I think only golfers see that as something special,” she said with a laugh.
“But anybody who comes to this part of the world will be impressed. I hope we keep playing here for many years to come.”
The Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville will be played February 21-24 at the highly regarded Bonville Golf Resort south of Coffs Harbour.