A concerted effort from the greater golfing community in NSW and across Australia opposed to the controversial plan to halve Moore Park Golf Course has been a success.
Golfers, politicians on both sides of the divide, the sport’s peak representative bodies including Golf NSW, Golf Australia & the PGA, as well as several Sydney City Councillors opposed to the plan were vindicated yesterday when the minister in charge, NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, told the media he believes the storied golf course should remain at 18 holes.
“Moore Park Golf Course is one of the few public golf courses in Sydney that is accessible to most regardless of age, gender, level of experience or talent. This is thanks to its affordable membership fees, strong community initiatives and incredible heritage – stretching over 100 years,” Mr Stokes said.
In acknowledging the changing nature of the recreational needs of nearby city dwellers, Mr Stokes said the reconfiguration of a couple of holes to allow more public access.
“We are looking for a win-win, keeping the 18 holes while also opening up access to the amazing parklands that surround the golf course,” he added.
Dr Keryn Phelps and Club President John Janik met with the planning minister yesterday to discuss ways of opening up access points to the community.
“The Golf Club came to the meeting with some very practical solutions for opening up access points across the golf course for community members in nearby suburbs to be able to access the adjacent parklands.
” This is a victory for golfers who rallied to save their course and for residents who will be able to access the parklands in a way that does not take anything away from the course,” Dr Phelps said.
“That is an enormous relief to the thousands of golfers in Sydney who will be able to continue to access this course as a championship course.”
Mr Stokes said this idea of a “small modification” to the course would give people much better access to walk, cycle, picnic and spend time in the “beautiful” green space that makes up Moore Park and Centennial Park.
Options for freer access, as well as mixed & multi-use areas within golf course boundaries, is a view which has been advocated by the sport’s peak bodies across the country for several years.
Stuart Fraser, CEO of Golf NSW said the organisation had encouraged clubs to explore ways of using their facilities beyond the sport.
“Several fantastic initiatives are going on facilities across the State.
“Foot-Golf, Free-run areas for pets, using cart paths for walkers and Cyclists, even using fairways on summer evenings for outdoor entertainment.
“We actively encourage our clubs to explore ways to use their facilities in ways beyond the sport.
“It’s healthy for their neighbours and healthy for the club as a going concern to engage with the greater community as well,” Mr Fraser added.