14 Sep 2021 | Clubs and Facilities |

Brisbane's new course ticks the boxes

by PGA of Australia

Minnippi golf course image
Minnippi has not a single bunker on course.

By Tony Webeck

Variety, environmental sustainability and a first for Australian golf.

At a time when pressure is being applied to public golf facilities by way of a surge in participation numbers throughout the country and councils who see land that could be used for other purposes, the construction of the Minnippi Golf Course in Brisbane’s south has the potential to reframe the conversation.

A collaboration between Brisbane City Council, BMD Properties Pty Ltd, Urbex, Empower and Pacific Coast Design, the Cannon Hill Community Links Development Project has overcome a number of hurdles since inception but is now edging towards completion.

Grassing has been completed on six of the 18 holes with other holes in various stages of construction. The two major water storage lakes have been completed as has the majority of the bridges and Brisbane City Council last week called for tenders for the operators of the city’s first new public golf course in 70 years.

The addition of Minnippi Golf Course will go some way to offsetting the loss of Victoria Park from the city’s golf course offering but the way in which the course has been designed will have ramifications for other public facilities throughout the country.

Such is the configuration conceived by course architects Phil Ryan and Paul Reeves, golfers will have the option to play the full 18-hole course, one of either two sets of nine-hole courses or one of three six-hole courses… without a sand bunker in sight.

Converting an old tip site near Bulimba Creek to incorporate a residential development that would fund the project and a golf course built on a major floodplain created significant design challenges but presented Pacific Coast Design with an opportunity to create an Australian first.

“Due to the floodplain we proposed no sand bunkers on the golf course, a first for Australia,” explained Phil Ryan, Pacific Coast Design’s catalogue of work in Australia including Capital Golf Club, Gardiner’s Run and Nelson Bay Golf Club.

“Instead, as a hazard we have treated timber fences which create grassy hollows near greens and at traditional ‘bunker’ positions.

“The grass height behind the fences can be managed by the operators to alter the level of difficulty. This will also improve round times for golfers and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.”

But perhaps the most innovative element incorporated into Minnippi Golf Course are the three tee boxes stemming from the clubhouse hub that will provide the flexibility that time-poor golfers are seeking.

Six holes can be played in little more than an hour and whichever routing you choose there will be a unique golf experience to be enjoyed.

“The golf course is a par 72 of 6032 metres with three holes over the old tip, three holes through the proposed residential area and the balance laid out along the flood plain adjacent to Bulimba Creek,” Ryan added.

“The golf course can be played as 18 holes, two nine-hole loops or as three six-hole loops.

“This will give the appointed managers as many options as possible for normal or twilight/speciality golf play.

“The course moves from parkland golf across the first six holes into a more heavily tree-lined forest-like golf zone for three holes and then back to the parkland environment.

“Holes 14-16 are set on the old tip site and as such are more open and play as a links-style and the final two holes return again to that parkland feel.

“It promises to be a fun golf course with lots of options for achieving par and which takes golfers on a journey through an enhanced environmental site with creeks and billabongs.”

The enhanced environment in and around the golf course will not only be very appealing to prospective residents but is expected to assist in providing ease of moment for the local squirrel glider population, improve the flow of water through the floodplain and stop blockage points where plastics and rubbish can slow the movement of water. Local low points, drains and fairways are being contoured to assist flow whilst minimising regular inundation.

“Technically, this must be one of the most complex projects Pacific Coast Design has been involved in but the end result will be a significant improvement to the area on many levels and a great new public golf asset for the people of Brisbane,” said Ryan.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said it would be a welcome addition to the city given the closure of Victoria Park Golf Course to make way for a massive inner-city park. “The plan has always been to deliver another international-quality public golf course somewhere else in the city,” Cr Schrinner said.

“To deliver the Minnippi Golf Course, we need an experienced operator to lease, run, maintain and invest in this premier asset.

“We’re looking for a partner that will foster a great community culture by understanding the needs of local golfers and residents, while maintaining a commercially-viable business that will support local jobs.”

Tenders to run the facility open on September 17 and close on December 8.

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