27 Nov 2023 | Clubs and Facilities |
A Community’s collective effort | Corryong Golf Club’s redevelopment
by Andrew Young
When fire ravaged the East Coast of Australia in 2019/20, the border town of Corryong suffered greatly. And, while significant damage was done to the golf course on the outskirts of town, the club’s bounce back has been remarkable, headlined by the development of nine artificial grass greens which officially opened for play earlier this month.
The facility improvements also included the construction of a new deck at the Corryong Sporting Complex, which overlooks the ninth green of the revamped golf course.
Situated 120 kilometers East of Albury-Wodonga, Corryong Golf Club has had sand greens throughout its history, but after fire burnt through the whole course, the club’s members and committee rallied behind the idea of a total transformation to the putting surfaces.
“It’s been an ambition for probably about ten years,” said club vice-captain Richard Bennetts.
“It was a tough time (when the fires came through), but one of the good things to come from it was bushfire recovery grants. The club persisted and was ultimately successful in securing one of those to install artificial turf greens.”
The golf course upgrade was part funded by the Victorian government’s Local Economic Recovery grant program, while the Border Trust Community Foundation helped to cover the cost of the broader club improvements.
The club received $327,004 in recovery grants, which along with donations from other local charitable organisations, made the entire project possible.
In a message to the club, Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes reaffirmed how important it is to help clubs like Corryong to bounce back from disaster.
“We know that recovery from major disasters takes time and grants like these help communities to get back on their feet,” Ms Symes said.
“We’re proud to see the results in Corryong and stand by the community as they progress in their recovery.”
The course – which acted as a buffer for the town during the fires, resulting in the loss of only one residence – was closed for an extended period. First the fires, then storm damage, immediately followed by the pandemic, mean golfers didn’t tee it up at Corryong for two years.
While this gave the course a chance to regenerate, members and the committee sprang into action to plan for the renovations.
A dedicated working group was established, particularly for the greens project, as the club found a way forward.
Together, the team of volunteers worked tirelessly to bring the project to life. An effort recognised by golf club president, Kelly Galbraith at the official launch dinner of the new greens.
“From the very inception of this project, this journey has been fueled by passion and a shared vision for enhancing our community spaces,” Galbraith said.
“A heartfelt thank you to all who offered general assistance, advice or a helping hand when needed... Your support is what has held this project together.”
To that end, the club’s due diligence throughout the project has helped to ensure a particularly playable – and sustainable – finished product.
They spoke to clubs around the country, particularly in Western Australia, conversations which helped to ensure that the greens were properly constructed with the base material – which is largely recycled glass.
As a consequence, no bacteria or organic matter can grow underneath, so the putting surfaces stays nice and level.
Designed like grass greens, with undulations and up to four possible pin placements, members and guests have enjoyed rolling their putts on the new surfaces at Corryong.
“We haven’t had a single negative comment,” Bennetts smiled. Everyone has been impressed with them.”
“It’s a pretty big achievement. You can already see the benefit to the community, it’s already having an impact.
“The number of people playing has increased quite dramatically and we are getting interest from all around the place, with people wanting to play the new greens and see what they’re like.”
A full field of 3-player Ambrose teams played on the opening day, while a course record, 76, was promptly set on just the second official day of competition.
The new greens have generated plenty of interest with young golfers too, and the club is working with local schools to implement a formal youth development program.
CLUB Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1026491335156543/
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