16 Aug 2023 | Amateur golf |

The Shark connection to NT Classic

by Martin Blake

NT Classic image
Kate Buckland with the Crystal Shark as the 2022 winner.

One of the Northern Territory’s most prestigious amateur tournaments beginning next week also carries a unique association with the family of Greg Norman.

The NT Classic, which begins next Thursday at Darwin Golf Club, is an Open, Senior and Junior event all in one.

The overall winner in the women’s tournament receives the ‘Crystal Shark’, a glass trophy made by Waterford Crystal in Ireland first commissioned by Greg Norman and currently held by Alice Springs Golf Club member Kate Buckland.

The Norman connection dates to 1994, when the NT District Women’s Golf Association was formed in a split from the NT Group Golf Association.

The inaugural president was Liz Palmer, from Darwin GC, who invited Toini Norman, the mother of Australia’s world No. 1 player and dual major champion as well as being a fine golfer herself, to be the first patron.

Three years later Toini Norman was invited to play in the annual NT Women’s Open and with permission from her son she donated the trophy – one of five commissioned by Greg Norman -- to the handicap winner.

When the NT Women’s and Men’s associations amalgamated in 2007 under the banner of Golf NT, the trophy continued to be awarded to the women’s handicap champion at the NT Amateur Open, but in 2019 when Golf Australia assumed the operations of Golf NT, the trophy was awarded to the winner of the handicap section of the NT Classic.

The NT Classic alternates between Darwin and Alice Springs each year to ensure that NT golfers have easier access to the event.

Kate Buckland, who won in 2022, is back to defend in 2023.

“The NT Classic is for all the Territory’s golfers,” she said.

“That Shark story embodies what it’s all about. To have that name attached and to see all the names that are on the trophy, it really is something special.’’

Aaron Goggin, Golf Australia’s NT Events Manager, said: “The NT Classic is designed for all golfers in the Northern Territory,” he said.

Entries close this week.

The NT Classic is from 24-27 August at Darwin Golf Club beginning with the NT Foursomes Championships. NT Classic information

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