Australian course follows a new path

 

A land sale necessitated by hard times could secure the future of an 86-year-old club in South Gippsland.

The members of Wonthaggi Golf Club have agreed to sell 37 acres of their property in exchange for a redesigned golf course and a new clubhouse. The planned 6,562-yard track, to be created by Tony Cashmore, will be longer and more challenging than the club’s existing layout, which opened in two phases in 1930 and 1950.

“We have been a bit down at the club in all areas, but I think we will turn the corner now,” club president Darren Green told the Great Southern Star earlier this year.

The golf design and construction will be funded by Sydney-based Buildev, a developer that plans to erect a small community near holes No. 14 and No. 18. The community will include houses for both the general market and for seniors, plus accommodations for tourists. Buildev hopes to wrap up the entitlement process this year and is, according to the Star, “optimistic the project will commence shortly.”

Cashmore, who’s based in Carlton, Victoria, is one of Australia’s most in-demand architects. Over the past 30 years, he’s designed more than two dozen courses Down Under, including a trio of the nation’s top 100 layouts: the Henley course at Heritage Golf & Country Club in suburban Melbourne, Dunes Golf Links on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and the Beach course at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads, Victoria.

Cashmore has also designed courses in South Korea (an 18-hole track at Seven Valley Golf Club in Daegu) and in China (among them, an 18-hole layout at Jade Island International Golf Club in Beijing). On his website, he lists 15 projects in planning in China, plus three in Vietnam and two in the U.S.

At Wonthaggi, Cashmore figures to design seven or eight new holes and to thoroughly overhaul the tees, greens, and bunkers on the others. The track’s fairways will be regrassed, and irrigation and drainage issues will be addressed.

Wonthaggi was founded in 1925 but moved to its current location in Wonthaggi, located about 80 miles southeast of Melbourne, in 1930. The club has had a hard time finding members of late, but Green believes that the redesigned course and Buildev’s houses will make it more marketable.

“These are exciting times for the golf club,” he told the Star. “This secures the club for the next 100 years and, once complete, will be a fantastic development.”

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to WorldEdition@aol.com.

 

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