Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Garske's Lasting Legacy

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Garske's Lasting Legacy

Article excerpt

ONE of the top 10 most influential people in Sunshine Coast sport in the past decade hasn't ever lived on the Coast.

He has been a frequent visitor though and he is about to call it quits.

Max Garske will be a name familiar to golfers, but probably not to the wider sports community. He has been the chief executive of the PGA of Australia for more than 20 years and was one of the driving forces behind bringing the Australian PGA Championship to the Hyatt Coolum in 2002.

Since then the tournament has flourished and is quite clearly the biggest event on the Sunshine Coast in terms of prizemoney ($1.5 million), crowds (about 50,000 for the four days) and viewership Co the tournament is telecast on Ten/One HD and on a number of overseas networks.

The PGA is here to stay for another few years at least but Garske, who has seen the PGA of Australia grow from seven staff to 60 during his time in charge, won't be steering the ship after deciding last week to step down from his position.

When the decision was made to move the PGA from Royal Queensland in Brisbane to the Coast there were plenty of doubters wondering why one of the country's premier tournaments should be taken outside a capital city.

"We made a concerted effort to base the tournament out of a major city, as for some reason that simply was not working," Garske said.

"When the Maroochydore Shire Council came on board, in what was probably a first in Australia, we worked to create what we call a Cyfestival of golf' and to give the community a level of ownership of the event."

It was a brave move but I can remember clearly standing with Garske on the first morning of the first PGA at Coolum and witnessing the crowds streaming along the Hyatt entry road.

It was clear even at that early stage that the venue switch had paid off and almost every year since the tournament has grown in popularity.

Garske rates Coolum as one of the most user-friendly venues in world golf and that is one of the reasons the tournament works so well.

"We can run our championship in a closed and controlled environment, take care of the players and their guests, sponsors and dignitaries, so as to allow them all to do business," he said a couple of years ago. …

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