A 13-man New Zealand team has been confirmed to take on Australia in what is arguably the first international long drive golf Trans-Tasman Challenge.
The event will take part at Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club on the outskirts of Sydney on Friday 15th December with the Australians already in heavy practice.
The New Zealand team is as follows; Alan Stroud - Takapuna Golf Course (Auckland), Alex Lunn - Morrinsville Golf Club, Chase Mckeown - Akarana Golf Club (Auckland), Dan Crook (Captain) - Omanu Golf Club (Mt Maunganui), Gareth Campbell - Takapuna Golf Course, Iain Dick - St Andrews Golf Course (Hamilton), Kris Gundersen - Whakatane Golf Club, Mike Schofield - Pupuke Golf Club (Auckland), Paul West - Pupuke Golf Club, Ronnie Clark - Cape Kidnappers (Hawk Bay), Sam Jones – Manaia (Tarankai), Shaun Rolston - Ferrymead Golf Club (Christchurch) and Shiv Sabherwal - Windross Farm Golf Club (Auckland).
Lunn, Dick and Mckeown all took part in the recent International Long Drive Invitational in Auckland with good results.
Jones won the New Zealand champs earlier this year and is on a scholarship at University of West Georgia in the United States. Jones represented New Zealand at the world long drive champs in Oklahoma in September.
The format for the Trans-Taman Challenge is 6 x 2 ball matches in the morning. Then 12 x singles matches in the afternoon. There will be a longest drive of the day too.
New Zealand team captain, Dan Crook says “The format is great, it holds both teams accountable until the last match is played out. Long Drive is growing by the day, it's the 20/20 of cricket, it's the fast five of Netball, it's the 7's of Rugby and 9's of league, it's fast, action packed, and best of all it's just great to watch, a real spectators sport. Who doesn't want to see athletes hitting golf balls toward the 400m mark. We know some of the Australian team and they are real keen to try and beat us. But we’re all in pretty good form. It should be a great event.”
The team has officially been named, the New Zealand Long Blacks.
The Trans-Tasman Long Drive Challenge is another step in the plan for more Long Drive events around the Pacific Rim, especially after the Long Drive Invitational saw 12 nations represented and more players keen to play in the future.