Multi-million dollar new golf club for Wonthaggi

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Multi-million dollar new golf club for Wonthaggi


You beauty: welcoming Wonthaggi Golf Club’s good news was club president Darren Green (left) and bistro chef Damien Madeley.


YEARS of hard work have culminated in an announcement Wonthaggi will have an entirely new golf facility for the town.
Club president Darren Green announced details exclusively to The Star last week.
The club accepted a new agreement with developer Buildev under a fortnight ago which will see 15 hectares of the club handed over, in stages, to the builder.
In return Buildev will construct a totally revamped golf course which will include seven to eight brand new holes, a whole new golf layout with new tees and greens rebuilt to specifications. A new clubhouse will be located where the eighth green is today.
Crucially, the sticking point, Buildev will settle a payment the club has to make to the State Treasury of around $2 million to have the 15 hectares removed from the section 173 clause. That clause has restricted the land occupied by the club to being used for sporting purposes only.
Every fairway will be sown with a warm season grass, most likely Santa Anna Couch, the same grass that has proven successful at Leongatha Golf Club.
“These are exciting times for the golf club. This secures the club for the next 100 years and, once complete, will be a fantastic development,” Mr Green said.
A meeting with two of the golf club’s development committee members, Maurie Loughran and Betty Bowmar, a representative from Buildev and State Treasury tomorrow will discuss the final figure the club needs to pay the state.
The $2.2 million valuation was made six months ago. This figure could rise, but with slightly softer real estate conditions, could even go down.
“From the golf club’s point of view we would be hoping the value of the 15 hectares would have gone slightly down,” Mr Green said.
Buildev development project partner David O’Halloran is optimistic the project will commence shortly.
“We are aiming to have a final agreement executed with Treasury in the next month or so which will then allow us to finalise our planning approvals and get started with construction,” he said.
The new golf course will be Cashmore designed. Cashmore Design has successfully designed over 30 golf courses in Australia including the Henley course at the Heritage Golf and Country Club near Melbourne; the 13th Beach course at Barwon Heads (in conjunction with six-time major winner Nick Faldo); and The Dunes Golf Links at Rye.
Cashmore Golf Design has successfully designed or redesigned more than 70 golf courses around the world, and assisted dozens of clubs and public golf operators with small-scale improvements to their courses.
The project is to be delivered in stages, allowing for the gradual transition of the course from its current layout to a new, 6000m configuration – longer than the current configuration.
It will also benefit from ungraded drainage and irrigation, minimising lost time from wet weather and ensuring excellent playing conditions during dry periods.
In return for its commitment, Buildev will construct a new retirement village on part of the 15 hectares.
Project manager with Buildev, Jim Armstrong said, in addition to a retirement village, there would be conventional residential dwellings, medium density dwellings and tourist apartments.
“It’s been a challenging time for the golf club but our partnership throughout the process has remained strong,” he said.
Most of the land in question is along the perimeter of the course between the 14th and 18th holes, close to McKenzie Street.
Mr Green said the uncertainty facing the club of recent times had dragged the club down.
“Recent newspaper articles haven’t helped us at all. We have been a bit down at the club in all areas but I think we will turn the corner now,” he said.
The club had needed to cut costs and so decided to cease paying a company to manage the golf shop after the lease came up for renewal, and now runs it with a team of rostered volunteers.
The club also formed a relationship with the Wonthaggi Club to assist with some of golf club financial and clerical work.
“We had our manager and office administrator leave very close together. We received a call soon after from Steve Curtis at the Wonthaggi Club and he offered any assistance their club could give us. So rather than employ new staff ourselves we pay the Wonthaggi Club to help us in these areas,” Mr Green said.
Mr Green said membership wasn’t as high as he would like it, with around 300 plus about 100 social members.
He was confident that with the latest good news, all this should change.
Contrary to reports, the club is still very viable.
“We have a bistro which is open seven days a week, a gaming room with 15 machines, a strong calendar of events and 300 members who love their golf,” Mr Green said.
Damien Madeley has been chef at the golf club for the past seven years. He said a new menu would be available in a couple of weeks. The bistro will be open for lunch and dinner seven days but would close on Monday nights during winter.

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Posted by on May 24 2011. Filed under Featured, News, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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