Hole-in-One at the end of the season

2020 was the season of national tournaments - and at a level never before seen in Switzerland. Although the Corona pandemic meant that all the men's tournaments in Switzerland that were part of international tours had to be cancelled, those responsible for the Swiss PGA's playing activities are still taking a positive view of past the season. Four Swiss PGA Tour events, the Swiss Golf Summer Tour launched at short notice, three Swiss Golf Regional Championships, the Omnium, the Swiss Pro Series and, last but not least, the Swiss PGA Championship offered numerous competition opportunities.

"We are very grateful that the Links Golfresort Leuk, the Golf Club Markgräflerland, the Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course, the Golf Club Lugano and the Golfpark Zürichsee not only granted us hospitality, but also actively supported us in all matters," explains Swiss PGA President Keith Marriott.

Shakehand SPGA Champ 2020

A lot of work for the Captain

Swiss-PGA-Captain Gianluca Patuzzo looks back on a strange year. "In spring, it seemed for a long time unavoidable to cancel most of the tournaments. But then the situation changed and with the help of our partners, especially the hosting clubs, we were able to put most of the tournaments back on the calendar," Patuzzo says. Whereby all Swiss-PGA events were held in compliance with a strict protection concept. "We adhered to the specifications of Swiss Golf. This worked very well and I am grateful for the excellent work that the clubs did in this respect as well," says Patuzzo. The Swiss PGA office also kept members informed on an ongoing basis about any adjustments to the Corona protection measures.

Looking back, the captain can be satisfied with the tournament year: "The situation was particularly difficult for the playing professionals; without knowing when and if they would be able to play tournaments again this year, they had to get in as good shape as possible and be ready for a re-start at any time. The Swiss PGA and the Swiss Pro Golf Series, together with the tournaments organized by Swiss Golf, created a competitive environment in which the playing professionals could prepare themselves optimally for international assignments". One consequence of this: "The level of our national tournaments has risen significantly this year." It also went well organizationally: "I received a lot of positive feedback - from the state of maintenance of the courses where we were guests to the live scoring on our website. The Captain is more critical when it comes to his own playing performance: "I had to realize that it is not so easy to be involved in the tournament organization and to play in the tournament at the same time. As the main person responsible on the Swiss PGA side, he has to control many things on tournament days as well. "The support we get from the clubs, the managers and greenkeepers is great. But there is so much to discuss that in the end my own tournament preparation falls by the wayside". Nevertheless, he wants to try again in 2021, and "I'll do my best to play better," Patuzzo says with a laugh.

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Chatelain: High level in national tournaments

Looking back on the 2020 season, Swiss-PGA Vice President Marc Chatelain, responsible for "Member Support Playing Professionals" within the Swiss PGA board, says: "Because there were only a few tournaments on the international calendar, our playing professionals have increasingly played in national tournaments - usually one or more of them has won. I think it's fair to say that the playing level at the national tournaments has increased through the participation of these playing professionals."

Chatelain is convinced that these national tournaments have been of particular importance in the special golf year 2020: "Especially in the months after the lockdown, there were not many opportunities for playing professionals. In the summer, the Swiss Golf Tour, organized and financed by Swiss Golf, had done much to ensure that the members of the Swiss Golf Team had sufficient playing opportunities in Switzerland". I was particularly impressed by the short time the playing professionals were able to enter tournament mode and deliver good scores. "I didn't get the impression that a lot of time was needed to get started after the lockdown; the level was very quickly high. The scoring at the national tournaments was sometimes really impressive," Chatelain says. The most recent example of this is the Swiss PGA Championship held in mid-October at the Golfpark Zürichsee: "I often practice with my squad in nuoles, so I know very well how demanding the course has been since the renovation. At the championship two weeks ago, it was in good condition and the scoring of the winners - both those of the active players and that of Senior André Bossert - shows the level of play that is now being played in Switzerland: at a high level!

Swiss PGA Championship - no course record, but an ace

The association's championship was the crowning finale of the national tournament season. The fact that the Swiss PGA was a guest on the GEO-certified course of the Golfpark Zürichsee for the second time within one year speaks for itself. Since its expansion to 18 holes, the course has become one of the most popular championship courses in Switzerland. After the championship, the professionals once again gave the course top marks: very well maintained and demanding. "It was a pleasure for the participants and also for the organizers on the Swiss PGA's side to once again be guests on the Lake Zurich golf course," says Swiss PGA General Secretary Irene Oberländer.

The joy was mutual. Ursina Bisculm, Managing Director of the Golfpark Zürichsee, was pleased about the uncomplicated and professional cooperation with the Swiss PGA. The importance attached to the Swiss PGA Championship by the host club can be deduced from Bisculm's statements: "Of course it is more difficult to prepare the course in October. The weather has to 'play along' with the preparation. However, we have been working towards the tournament all season to get the course in very good condition so late in the season. Six weeks before the tournament the greens were aerified and cut as low as possible for the championship". This paid off, as Swiss PGA captain Gianluca Patuzzo confirms: "Unfortunately, there was a lot of rain in the days leading up to the tournament and during the first two rounds, but the greens held up excellently and we were able to play three rounds on a championship-worthy and challenging course".

That this was possible is probably also due to the good hands and experience of headgreenkeeper Steven Tierney. "Our course is very busy all year round, we receive up to 230 players per day, so the greens are used accordingly," says Ursina Bisculm. Nevertheless, the Swiss PGA Championship was easily integrated into the calendar: "Many of our club members came to the course as spectators and watched the top players," says the club manager, explaining the sporting spirit at Golfpark Zürichsee. The Pros offered the audience a lot: "Due to the wet weather, they played with 'preferred lies', which is why Joel Girrbach's 65 is not listed as an official course record," explains Bisclum. "But what goes into the record books of our course is Philippe Weppernig's Hole-in-One on hole 15". Weppernig had holed in on the final day on the 167 meter long course from the tee.

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