Hundreds of golfers are gearing up to take to the Mudgee Golf Course in a bid to claim the crown in the 89th installment of the Mudgee Open.
With 216 players signed up so far, the largest numbers to date, the three day event will host the usual suspects from Sydney, Corowa, Leonay, Twin Creeks, The Vintage, Cabramatta, Lithgow, Asquith and Muswellbrook as well as some familiar local faces.
"We've got Besty [Andrew Best], Johnny Osborn, myself, Brad Paine, Darren Cummins and Ben Lockward playing," Mudgee's pennant captain, Mark Hale said.
"Benny has won it a few times but hasn't played for a few years, but he'll be back this year.
"Some of the guys coming have been coming for 20 years."
Hale, who has been playing golf for 38 years, says local knowledge will add a serious helping hand for Mudgee's players.
"Around Mudgee Golf Club there's definitely a lot of local knowledge at hand," Hale said.
"The greens are really quick and a lot of the visitors don't handle the fast greens, you can't be over the back of the greens or your day is over.
I'll be surprised if someone from around here doesn't get up the top at the end of Sunday.Mark Hale
"The course is beautiful for how dry it's been, Jason Size is awesome at maintaining it."
Hale will be hoping for a win in the Open which hasn't recurred for a number of years.
"It was awesome to win it, it's always good because there's usually the AFL grand final, the NRL grand final and the races on the Saturday to make it a full on weekend," he said.
"When I won I had 141 off the stick which is one under which is not too bad for an old person.
"I hope to win it, fingers crossed.
"The most important thing is to enjoy it. The moment you start thinking about it, it's all over like any sport."
Hale's mini-me, 12-year-old James Hale will be making his Mudgee Open debut and says he's excited to be playing alongside his dad.
"I don't feel nervous because I'll be playing with my dad but I'm excited," he said.
I'm not a great golfer yet but I'll get there. My putting lets me down but I'm working on it.James Hale
"I'll probably come down beforehand and play a few holes."
The Mudgee Open will be held from October 4th to 6th at the Mudgee Golf Club.