A VIRTUAL marathon of golf began on Saturday at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club but it's nothing new to the staff at the course. Saturday was the commencement of the annual Festival of Golf which amazingly, is now in it's 54th year. Nine days of golf at the club will see just under 2500 games of golf played during the festival, culminating with three prestigious trophies which are up for grabs at the end of the festival. The North Coast Amateur Open which has Vardon status will be played along with the Ladies Classic (a Jean Derrin Event) and the Coffs Cup on the final weekend the 29th & 30th October 2005. These events are the defining moments of the week with top amateurs coming from both north and south and converging on Coffs Harbour to try and snare the titles. The Festival of Golf has become known as the biggest week of golf on the Mid North Coast and many players travel long distances from interstate to compete. For these travellers, the event has become an annual pilgrimage for them as they flock to Coffs Harbour for a fun week of golf and the opportunity to renew old acquaintances. Players from just under 100 different golf clubs are playing in a week that features a number of different competitions each day ranging from Single and 4BBB Stablefords to Mixed events. A massive $17,000 in prizes will be given away this week ensuring that the Festival of Golf tradition continues for many more years to come.