It’s not often when phoning a golf club that the recorded voice on the other end of the line goes beyond asking if you’d like to speak with the pro shop and administration—and inquires as to whether you would like to know the “movie theatre session times.”
But that’s exactly what happens when you call Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort, which estimates it’s added close to 1000 new social members with the advent of its 60-seat luxury theatre.
“We’re showing about 21 sessions per week, ranging from silver screen classics through to latest releases,” says Yarrawonga Mulwala’s marketing manager Anna Brear.
The cinema – which opened to the public in September and cost an estimated $500,000 to complete – boasts leather recliner seating and an adjoining wine bar.
Yarrawonga Mulwala lays claim to being Australia’s largest public access golf resort with 45 holes.
Brear says the cinema has pushed the club’s number of social members to close to 4000 and total membership near 6,000.
“Our social membership has definitely boomed from it. From the last 12 months when we initially announced it, we’ve had about an 800 to 1000 person increase.”
Brear admits the cinema has been busiest during the most recent school holidays while the wine bar continues to attract strong numbers of women during night sessions.
“A lot of groups are coming in and having a wine and cheese platter before they head in,” Brear says. “But the bonus with our movie theatre is that you can take in alcohol. We do a tapas style menu that you can also take in with you, so that’s proving really popular for our nighttime sessions.”
The cinema can also be used to host conferences and community functions and is yet another offering at Yarrawonga Mulwala, which, in addition to golf, boasts lawn bowls, croquet lawns, accommodation, an outdoor tennis court, gym, TAB and solar-heated swimming pool.
“It’s a really good asset for the community as a whole,” Brear states. “You have to travel about 45 minutes to get to the closest movie theatre at the moment. Being a population of elderly people who have a lot of time during the day as well as evenings to come and visit the cinema and just have something else to do in the town is great. In school holidays, there isn’t a lot for the kids to do in the town. Rather than travel out of the town, we wanted to try and keep people in the community.”
The decision to build a cinema forms part of the club’s recent heavy focus on spending.
“We have taken out a loan to fund it but we’re also spending $2 million on course irrigation at the moment. But we think with the occupancy and food and beverage, we could probably have it paid back within 12 to 18 months.”
The general public can watch movie sessions for $15 while Yarrawonga Mulwala members can buy tickets for $12.
“It adds another arm and aspect to your organisation and offers people who are coming, whether they’re a couple and their husband’s out playing golf, the wife can go to the movie theatre. It just gives you more of a dynamic to attract couples, families.”