Tournament officials have promised the music won’t stop all day. It might be toned down a little when a player addresses his ball, but it won’t be switched off altogether.
“It’s an area that’s going to be fun, a little bit loud with music, the players will engage in it, but it’s going to be safe as well,” PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman says. “Every year it’s grown. We’ve learned and listened and got the feedback from fans – and we want to cater for all fans.”
There’s one thing golf’s top brass can’t stand from critics of the sport: the male, pale and stale tag. Leaning into the concept of a stadium hole is slowly inching itself away from that.
“If someone hasn’t ever played golf before, they go to that party hole, just to have a day out, that might get them on the golf course that next week or the next month and bring people to golf … I think that’s a good thing,” veteran Australian Marc Leishman says. “And fun’s never a bad thing either.”
But where’s the line between fun and sporting integrity?
Royal Queensland’s party hole is only 125 metres – not even a full wedge for the stars of today. But it has an elevated green, which makes pin-hunting tricky.
Cameron Smith, chasing a fourth Australian PGA title, has gone a step further and urged tournament officials to consider the pin placements for maximum fun. Translation: give us a chance of making a hole-in-one.
“I think that’s why you’ve got it there, to entertain people,” Smith says. “Why not put [the pin placement] in a bowl? Maybe not even one, maybe have five. I think that’s a great idea. I think Sunday might be a bit of a different story, put it back there in a hard spot. But Friday and Saturday, let us go at it.”