Council approves stage one of golf strategy
THE City of Greater Geelong will negotiate new rental agreements with the East Geelong and Clifton Springs golf clubs, as the first stage of its new three-year Golf Facilities Strategy.
It’s intended the new arrangements will provide certainty for both clubs’ futures, ensuring fairness and equity with the City’s two other leased public courses, Barwon Valley and Ocean Grove.
These four courses are all running sustainably under club-based management models.
In voting to go ahead with the new rental arrangements during last week’s meeting, council also agreed to provide extra time before the full strategy is finalised.
This will give Lara and Queens Park golf clubs an opportunity to further consider and consult with members on a potential transition from City-operated to club-based management models.
Mayor Bruce Harwood said by carrying out stage one of the strategy now, the council was able to give East Geelong and Clifton Springs golf clubs immediate certainty around their long-term futures by offering improved rental agreements.
“However, it’s also fair for both Lara and Queens Park that we give them the time they need to work through this process, as we assist them to transition to a club-based management model,” Mr Harwood said.
“Once the full strategy is finalised and implemented, we’re confident we will see all public courses being run sustainably by their tenant clubs.
“Just as importantly, use of public golf facilities will remain affordable to the community.”
The report presented to council stated that both Lara and Queens Park have indicated ‘in principle’ support for the change but need more time to work through details, particularly in relation to water sustainability and asset renewal.
Council released a draft of the Golf Facilities Strategy 2019-21 for eight weeks of community feedback in May, receiving nine online submissions.
City staff and councillors also met with clubs to discuss the proposed changes.
The strategy aims to see the region’s public golf clubs continuing to compete in the crowded sport and leisure market, while giving the community access to affordable golf facilities.
If adopted, it will see the City of Greater Geelong step away from directly operating golf facilities over the next three years, while continuing to support clubs to achieve sustainable management models.
This will include assistance to work on initiatives that will help the clubs attract women, families and younger generations.