Every year The Jack Newton Celebrity Classic or “The Jack” sees 54 professional golfers, 54 celebrities, 54 amateurs and 54 sponsors’ representatives gather together for three days of golf and good times – with a hearty dash of charitable goodwill thrown in as well!
The event will clock up its 41 years on the fairways this December when the players tee off from 16–18 December at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, making it the longest-running celebrity pro-am golf tournament in Australia.
While Jack himself grew up in Cessnock and has lived in the Hunter for the past 40 years, The Jack had its origins hundreds of kilometres from his home with the inaugural event in December 1979 held on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – with Jack, the winner of that year’s Australian Open, among the professional golfing contingent invited to take part.
He became a regular on the event line-up, taking out the title in 1980 and becoming more heavily involved along with his wife Jackie in helping it grow. Jack took over the running of the celebrity pro-am that had by that time been re-named in his honour, in 1985. Over the years, thanks to the Newtons, the event has continued to grow in size and reputation, relocating a couple of times before Jack brought the event home to the Hunter in 2006.
While the players – celebrities, golfers and sponsors alike – do take the tournament seriously over what are two hotly-contested rounds of golf, there’s also plenty of fun to be had on the course as well as off, with many participants getting into the spirit of things by indulging in fancy dress while they play. The “tradition” has seen the event contested by everyone from Santa Claus, Scooby-Doo and Where’s Wally to superheroes, chap-wearing Cowboys, a bride (in a gorgeous white dress) and Kiss look-a-likes, complete with full wigs and make-up!
Over the years the Celebrity Classic, along with separate Corporate Jack events, has raised more than $7 million for the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation and various diabetes charities.
Both the causes are close to Jack’s heart. His father died from complications related to diabetes, and Jack himself was diagnosed with it a few years after his accident. Furthering the development of junior golfers continues to be one of Jack’s major passions.
This year, the line up is huge with Wally Lewis, Shannon Noll, Busby Marou and many other big names. It’s also open to the public, so if you want to come and mix with your favourite stars, this might be a great time to head out to the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley for lunch.
For more information on the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic, sponsorship opportunities or the chance to jump in and swing a club with the best of them, visit www.celebrityclassic.jacknewtongroup.com