Eagles Boys & Girls Golf Championship History
History Of (Caltex) Eagles Boys & Girls Golf Championship of New Zealand
The Eagles Boys Championship of NZ was set up by the Eagles Golfing Society of Wellington in 1981 and was played as part of, and in conjunction with the Wellington Junior 72 Hole Stroke Play Championship. The event was always played in the third term school holidays over 2 days at the Miramar Golf Club.
For the event to be authorised it was first necessary to have the approval of the Wellington Golf Association, the then sponsor 'Dentice Dry Cleaning' (the Managing Director, Ken Dentice, a keen golfer and a member of Miramar Golf Club). These authorities together with the approval of NZGA (NZ Golf (Inc) and the National Executive of the Eagles Golfing Society of NZ were all obtained before the event was inaugurated.
The original format was for each Eagles Society (15 in all) to send a nominated boy to contest the event. The representative was selected by the District Golf Association Selectors or was the winner of an event promoted by the Eagles District Society. These representatives played for the Eagles Championship and were eligible to also win the Wellington event, as were the Australian Juniors who came over for experience in the Wellington Event and went on to play in the NZAMP, Boys Event.
In 1983 the late Mrs Dorothy Thompson, Lady Captain of Miramar Golf Club, requested consideration be given for an Eagles Girls Championship to be played in conjunction with the Boys event. The request was considered by the Eagles Society, all approvals were obtained, the selection criteria being the same as the Boys.
The first year of the combined event was played with the Wellington Boys 72 Hole Championship. This was the first and only 72 Hole mixed junior Championship, and continued at Miramar until 1987.
In 1988 and until 1992 it was played in conjunction with the 54 Hole AMP Boys Championship, the 15 girls playing at the front of the field. This change came about through Grant Clements getting the approval of the New Zealand Golf Council and the Sponsors, otherwise the event may have lapsed. The first year with AMP, the event was played at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club.
Because Junior Boys Golf was exploding at such a rapid rate and handicaps were reducing fast by 1993 lots of Boys were not able to play in the event, it was time to consider the Eagle section of the event to stand alone.
The Eagles National Management together with Caltex considered the proposal and approved the format we now have which is 3 players from each Society (1 girl, 1 boy and 1 other boy or girl) never 3 of one gender. It was a very generous sponsorship by Caltex, and is now a very important Junior Event on the National calendar.
"The Caltex Eagles Boys and Girls Championship of New Zealand", was aptly named, and endured until 2007.
The format of the event is for a total field of 60 players, 48 nominated players and 12 invited promising local players from the Host Society. In 2004 a teams trophy was presented by Doug Harris and named in honour of Ken Elliott, a long time advocate for Junior Golf.
Of the many players who have been in this event, numerous have joined the ranks of professional golf. Mathew Lane (1984) and Michael Campbell (1986) have gone on to win the NZ Open Championship in 1988 and 2000 respectively. Michael subsequently won the US Open in 2005. Craig Perks won the Players Championship in 2002. Most have represented their Province and some their Country in the Amateur ranks. Lisa Aldridge (1988) won the NZ Under 21 Championship in 1992 and Rene Fowler (1992) won the NZ Ladies Stroke Play in 1997. Both Lisa and Rene have won the Marilyn Smith Golfer of the year, while Julianne Alvarez (2009-2010) represented Wellington and New Zealand golf and Washington State University. Gareth Paddison (1997), Peter Spearman Burn (2005), Daniel Pearce (2008) and Daniel Hillier (2013) are just a few to have achieved these honours. Numerous others have subsequently established their names in the golfing world.