UNSEASONAL October deluges have forced Warrnambool Golf Club officials to postpone the men’s club championships.
Defending champion Alistair Gillin and a star-studded field will instead contest the 72-hole championships across two weekends next month.
The first two rounds will be held on November 23 and 24. Golfers will return to the course for rounds three and four on November 30 and December 1.
The championships had initially been scheduled to start today and wrap up next Sunday.
Warrnambool Golf Club captain Andrew Keane and greenskeeper David Warner came to the decision to reschedule yesterday morning.
Keane said the pair wanted the championships to go ahead with the course in as good condition as possible.
He said the course was in “mint” condition before the downpours on Tuesday and Wednesday. “The boys have been working all week after we had 70 millimetres on Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said.
“They’ve been working all week to pump it off. But with rain overnight and (yesterday) morning, we were fighting a losing battle.”
Keane said the new dates were the only consecutive weekends free of golf in the near future.
He said club officials were reluctant to have a long break between the first two and last two rounds.
“On November 9 and 10 is the Shipwreck Coast Classic in Port Fairy. We couldn’t play that weekend,” he said.
“And the next weekend is the Warrnambool golf extravaganza, so we couldn’t play that weekend.”
The downpours this week have been a constant source of frustration for Warner and his team.
Sections of six “riverbed” holes — the eighth, 10th, 11th, 12th, 17th and 18th — have been underwater at various stages.
The back nine has been closed most the week, while the front nine remained open.
Keane said the club would run a regular 18-hole Saturday competition today, with changes to a host of holes.
Holes 17 and 18 will be par-three, while the women’s tees will be used for holes 11 and 12.
Keane expected the back nine to be open for the general public early next week.
“I’ve seen water on the course before, but I’ve never seen as much water as what was on the 10th fairway on Wednesday,” he said.
“When the high tide is up and the river is up, the water has nowhere to go. The water table is at the top of the ground.
“Even in summer you only have to dig down a couple of inches and you find water.
“Once the weather gets on the improve early next week we’ll open it all up for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Port Fairy Golf Club has cancelled its 18-hole Saturday competition today.
Holes five, six and 10 through to 16 remain open to the public.