Shortland Waters treasurer Kerry Duggan is relieved to see work finally start on the Club’s redevelopment after seven years of “struggle”.
Retirement village builder and operator Aveo has started clearing the 10th and 11th holes under stage one of a $66 million project which will clear the club’s debt, pay for a new clubhouse and replacement holes, and provide a new membership base.
The retirement village, which will sit in the middle of the course, would be approved next month.
The club’s board has been walking a tightrope, barely scraping together enough cash to keep the wolves at bay while keeping a developer in play during a marathon approval process.
“We started our process about seven or eight years ago, so it’s been a long and difficult struggle, and like a lot of the smaller clubs we’ve been on the brink of disaster many times,” Duggan said. “The clubs’ never been out of debt since the members bought it off BHP in 1999.
“It couldn’t have come soon enough. It was one minute to midnight. We literally went within days.”
Duggan said Shortland Waters’ experience was similar to other clubs’ in the area, including Cessnock, Merewether and Newcastle, which were turning to commercial redevelopment to secure their future, and he expected those clubs to be watching the project closely.
“A lot of the smaller clubs are struggling on a month-to-month basis,” he said.
“Like bowling clubs, the weaker ones will fall by the wayside in the coming years and the few that are left will probably do quite well.”The Shortland Waters pro shop has been demolished to accommodate the new clubhouse, and the club has remodelled several holes to remain at 18 while the work is in progress.
The five new holes will be on land which cannot sustain large trees.
“The architect will be looking to achieve a linksy type of feel for the holes,” Duggan said. “It will complement the natural bushland setting on one part of the course andthe linksy feel on the other.”
Shortland Waters will host the NDGA Masters invitational event on Sunday.
This article appeared in the Newcastle Herald on 26 July.
Find out more about Aveo Newcastle here.