Binalong Sand Challenge goes into second year

Sand challenge: Jason Saunders hopes to see greater numbers at this year's competition and at future competitions, where he aims to once again have live entertainment. Photo: greenfinger.

Sand challenge: Jason Saunders hopes to see greater numbers at this year's competition and at future competitions, where he aims to once again have live entertainment. Photo: greenfinger.

The annual Binalong Sand Challenge is coming around again, with the competition’s second iteration due to take place across the weekend of September 23 and 24. 

Jason Saunders, one of the organisers of the challenge, is hopeful that this year will continue to improve on the positive turnout that the competition enjoyed in its first year. 

“Hopefully we can get more people,” Saunders said. 

“We got about 30 people each day [last year], but we’re really looking to get 60 to 80 people a day, [that] would be good.” 

Although most of the entrants to last year’s challenge were locals, Saunders expects there to be a higher contingent of players from a wider array of cities in this coming edition. 

“We’ve got it up on the New South Wales Golf website, we’ve got it on various golf clubs around the countryside … and Harden have got a big [competition] this weekend so they’ve put our posters up everywhere,” Saunders said. 

“So hopefully we’ll get people from all over the shop.” 

Although the title of the competition – Sand Challenge – might imply a significantly different competition to regular gold tournaments, the only contrast is that country golf courses can be too dry to justify using water on the greens, which are instead replaced with sand. 

The alternate surface also impacts the way that the game is played. Competitors can’t attack the greens too aggressively, else the ball is likely to simply bounce off into some rough. 

Therefore, the key is to take a slow approach to get the ball onto the green, which can then be attacked as it is a much more forgiving putting surface than grass. 

However, the tournament itself is not the only drawcard for this year’s event. 

There are several novelty events in store, including contests to see who can get nearest the pin, longest drive, straightest drive, and many more. 

There are also cash prizes for the winners of the tournaments, and many smaller prizes are up for grabs for the novelty events. 

Last year’s event included live entertainment, however there was not enough of a turnout to justify doing the same in 2017. 

However, Saunders did confirm that, should the challenge continue to grow in size, they would certainly look to reinstate some of the luxuries afforded by bigger tournaments. 

“Next year, if it does pick up, we’re going to put live entertainment on the Saturday night, things like that,” he said. 

The Binalong Sand Challenge will take place at the Binalong Community Club from 11am and continue until 6pm Sunday.