28 Jun 2022 | Industry news | Clubs & Facilities |

Vic Government teeing up cash for better regional courses

by Dane Heverin

The driving range at Leongatha will look quite different thanks to funding from the Victorian Government's Golf Infrastructure Fund.
The driving range at Leongatha will look quite different thanks to funding from the Victorian Government's Golf Infrastructure Fund.

Eight regional golf clubs across Victoria are in for major upgrades with the Victorian Government investing over $400,000 towards golf course infrastructure projects from Leongatha to Barwon Valley, through the Golf Infrastructure Fund.

The majority of the projects are investments in sustainability - which follows the Australian golf industry announcement earlier this month of the Golf Course 2030 Australia roadmap which aims to steer golf through factors such as the changing climate, resource constraints and regulation on course condition and playability.

This includes the installation of an irrigation system to three of the fairways at Nagambie Golf Club and a water saving fairway irrigation system at Mirboo North Golf Club.

Funded projects at Barwon Valley Golf Club and Leongatha Golf Club are an investment in driving range facilities to better serve all types of golfers.

“We just have a grass range at the moment so we’re going to put down proper mats on a concrete base in the first stage,” said Justin Speirani, General Manager at Leongatha Golf Club.

“Then, the second stage is some netting down the western boundary of the range. They are the two main things we’re looking to do to have an all-year-round hitting surface.”

Leongatha is one of the few public-access driving ranges in Gippsland and attracts many people annually during the new year holiday period, but locals face issues with the current surface during the wet winter months.

“The course staff will be looking forward to it so they don’t have to keep moving the tee where it gets pretty dug up. This time of year it really does get smashed and anyone who’s coming out to have a hit is basically hitting off dirt,” Speirani said.

“Obviously couch grass doesn’t repair this time of year so being able to provide that 12 month playability is fantastic.

“Through the holiday season it’s standing room only. Sometimes you’ve got to queue up to get on the range during January and it gives people the opportunity to come hit a bucket of balls if they don’t have 2 or 3 hours to get out on the course.”

The upgraded range will also provide Leongatha’s PGA Professional Tyler Marotti - and Speirani who is a PGA member and pitches in with lessons when Marotti is unavailable - with more opportunities to conduct lessons, in addition to the indoor simulator in the clubhouse which is used for teaching currently.

Golf in Victoria contributes an estimated $883 million to the state’s economy and supports 6900 jobs with more than 300,000 Victorians playing golf at more than 350 courses across the state.

Since 2018, the Fund has invested over $1.7 million to support 18 golf infrastructure projects and is part of the Government’s $7.46 million Supporting Growth of Golf Clubs Around Victoria initiative.

The initiative has also contributed $15.3 million for the new home of golf in Australia at the Sandringham Golf Course and $160,000 to support the successful Golf Scholarship Program.

Find out more here.

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