Golf Australia Appoints New CEO

Golf Australia took a key step on restoring stability with the appointment of a new chief executive. Stephen Pitt, the current chief of Golf Queensland, has taken up the job following an agreement, which saw controversial predecessor Tony Hallam quit.

The move is an important one for the peak amateur golf body as it seeks to return to a position of harmony with the state bodies and other stakeholders. It follows a new lucrative deal made with the New South Wales Government, which will see the country's most prestigious tournament, the Australian Open, remain in Sydney until 2015.

The Women's Australian Open is expected to go ahead at Melbourne's Metropolitan Golf Club next February.

Golf Australia Chairperson Anne Lenagan said Pitt would bring to GA a great deal of experience in sports administration, having worked in various bodies at state and national level. His appointment follows a wide-ranging search for a replacement for Hallam, an accountant who was appointed two years ago by an interim board. That board was an amalgam of representatives of Women's Golf Australia and GA when it was known as the Australian Golf Union.

The two bodies were forced to merge after the Federal Government's Australian Sports Commission threatened to cut off grants to golf. However, the union was shaky from the start and lacked the support of a number of key personnel involved in the game.

Under Hallam's reign the Women's Australian Open was revived, the Australian Open was moved to Sydney and former tennis promoter Paul McNamee was hired to inject some pizzazz into the sport. Nevertheless, there was hostility towards the Hallam-led regime, which took golf into radical new directions, not always with success.

Lenagan was confident GA would have a stable future with Pitt now installed in the top job. "We are delighted that Stephen has agreed to join us," Lenagan said. "After an extensive search, we believe his experience in sports administration and marketing makes him the ideal person to lead us into the future."