13 Jun 2024 | Clubs and Facilities |

Wallaroo finds the grass is greener

by Martin Blake

Wallaroo image 2
Wallaroo is the first course in the area with 18 greens.

A South Australian regional club has almost doubled its membership in five months an increased patronage exponentially after it changed from black slag putting surfaces to Santa Ana couch greens in the new year. Wallaroo Golf Club on the Yorke Peninsula reopened for play with 18 new greens late in December, and according to club treasurer Steph Krieg, has been packed with players ever since. “It’s been amazing,” said Krieg. “We’ve literally been inundated with visitors. Our memberships have grown. It’s far exceeded what we expected early in the piece.” The numbers are instructive. Membership has soared by 84 percent in five months to around 140 players, including six new juniors. “Previously they (juniors) might have started with us,” said Krieg. “But we’ve lost them because they would go somewhere to a club that had greens.” Green fees are up 242 percent in five months and that figure does not even include the huge numbers for the most recent long weekend, rounds of golf are up more than 50 percent overall and competition fees up 57 percent. Wallaroo completed the work with the help of a members’ campaign and a $65,000 grant from the South Australian Government in 2023. The old putting surfaces at Wallaroo were a black slag which was a byproduct off the copper mines that existed in the area 100 years ago. With the Santa Ana surfaces now bedded down and rolling nicely, Krieg has no doubt what has turned the club’s fortunes around. “It’s predominantly the greens,” she said. “We man the office seven days a week now, whereas before it was an honour system so some people might skip through and not pay. “We’re 100 percent volunteers. We purchased some golf carts for hire and that’s also a drawcard. They’re constantly out. We don’t always have enough of those. It’s really taken off.”

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