03 Nov 2023 | Clubs & Facilities |
Golf (and more) in an idyllic environment
by Martin Blake
Almost two years ago, the Simianakis family took a leap of faith into golf.
They had no background in the sport.
Dimitri Simianakis gave up his corporate job with Sunshine Coast Council, and he and his wife Natalie sold their home. It was December, 2021.
Next, they bought a golf course 15 minutes inland from Mooloolaba.
More than once in the months leading up to the purchase of the nine-hole facility at Tanawha, they wondered whether it was the right fit for them.
But the beauty of the land drew them forward. “It’s a beautiful parcel of land,” Dimitri Simianakis told Golf Australia this week. “It’s idyllic. No two holes are the same. Mountain Creek runs through three holes and there are rolling hills, dams and a billabong.
"Prior to the settlement, I remember us saying ‘are we mad? We’re not golfers!’ But then we’d walk through the course into the neighbouring botanic gardens and we’d say to ourselves: ‘Yep, this is the right decision’.’’
The result of their efforts is The Green at Tanawha, a golf facility at its core, but now also a community hub, with fitness and yoga classes, a tennis court, swimming pool and a café, and facilities for weddings and conferences.
With more to come. The Simianakis’ want to create a day spa at the venue and make it into a health retreat, while maintaining the golf course as its primary attraction.
“We’ve poured our blood, sweat and coin to improve it and have established ourselves in the community,” said Dimitri Simianakis.
“We love being part of the community. What’s special to us is that people are choosing to spend their money and more importantly their time to be with us. They’re entrusting us with that and it’s special. We don’t take it for granted.”
The golf course had been for sale for some years.
Golf Australia’s Clubs and Facilities Manager-North, Andrew Leventis, says what has been created at Tanawha fits perfectly with modern thinking around golf.
“I just think the different offerings that the facility has now is a perfect mix,” said Leventis. “Yes, the golf is the main draw, but there’s a diversity of the entertainment on offer and it’s done in a very warm environment.”
Dimitri Simianakis found himself bitten by the golf bug having had some lessons. Natalie Simianakis has started playing too, and their sons, Alexander (10) and Gabriel (7) are enjoying the lessons on offer at the facility, and thoroughly hooked. The family lives on-site.
The inclusive nature of the facility is all he has known as a person who came from a hospitality background.
“We have customers who come in for golf and they find themselves enjoying the café as well and the fact they can get a quality coffee, they get decent food and a proper range of beverages. Plus the feedback we get is that it’s a friendly and welcoming environment.
“I don’t want to comment in a detrimental way about the past, but I’m not sure golf is seen like that, necessarily. It’s probably seen as a little exclusive and a little pretentious. We’re being told that our hospitality is one of our points of difference.
“What really makes it worthwhile for me is to see golfers come to play on their own, then they meet others, make friendships, and then they’re returning together a couple of times a week.
"And it warms my heart to see the parents hanging together during our kids' classes as well.
“We see ourselves as caretakers of this beautiful land, and we’re honoured that people choose this place for their recreation.”
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