Peterborough Golf Club in coastal western Victoria could be extended from nine holes to 18 if local councils completing a draft master plan for the Shipwreck Coast choose to move on discussions around building another nine holes inland.
The Corangamite Shire and Moyne Shire Councils are preparing a master plan in conjunction with Parks Victoria, which will include a range of proposals aimed at bolstering Peterborough’s appeal as a Great Ocean Road tourist stop.
“Part of that submission had factored in an extension to the Peterborough Golf Club, which is on the north side of the Peterborough township,” says local Ron Irvine who, along with his sisters, owns the property being considered.
Irvine – president of the Peterborough Residents Group – understands an idea had been floated to add nine new holes to the town’s current course, close to a kilometre away on land he owns along with his family.
The concept – while only in a preliminary phase – was unanimously rejected by all seven members of the Peterborough Residents Group at a meeting in late May. Irvine says any golf development on his family’s land is highly unlikely.
“It’s not been within the planning of the residents and it’s not been within the planning of the golf club. If (councils) wanted to plan a new golf course for the area, they should designate an area for an 18-hole course that’s separate to the Peterborough course. People like it just the way it is. It’s really, from my point of view, impractical,” Irvine says.
Although, Irvine admits that, for the right price, he would consider selling his land, which is bordered to the east and north by Curdies Inlet and to the west by Halladale Road. “If they want to pay a lot of money for it, they can have it,” he says.
“There possibly is enough room for a small nine holes there but it is subject to flooding and that would be a major drawback.”
Peterborough Golf Club secretary Bob Hesketh has revealed that communication between the club and council on the issue has been limited but he would entertain the idea of an inland nine to complement its coastal links offering.
“If something was put to us, we’d certainly look at it,” Hesketh says. “Obviously there are a number of financial considerations. The land, in winter, it’s covered in water for a start so to turn that into an 18-hole golf course that you can use all year round, there’d have to be an awful lot of work done.”
Corangamite Shire councillor Peter Harkin forecasts any changes under the master plan could be several decades away from being implemented.
“The master plan is all very long-term,” Harkin says. “I don’t reckon I’ll live to see a lot of it myself. It’s just a proposal. A lot of the things on the master plan are put on as extras.”
Harkin agrees with Hesketh and Irvine that drainage at the proposed location would be a major issue for any new set of holes.
“I wonder how they’ll ever get it out there in a wetland. I would say it’s a long way off.”
Irvine says too much focus on boosting tourist visitation numbers along the Shipwreck Coast will damage Peterborough’s appeal as a quiet town.
“We don’t want it to be another town that is based solely on tourism. It’s always been a bit of a sleepy hollow and that’s the way that people like it.”
Peterborough’s golf course is best known for its stunning coastal views and Irvine suggests there are other sites west of Peterborough where a layout with no association to the town’s golf club could be built.
“There are several areas along towards the Bay of Islands that would be excellent for a future golf course.”