Wangaratta Golf Club
The lovely, but impractical, clubhouse at Wangaratta Golf Club

Wangaratta Golf Club’s outdated clubhouse could soon be a thing of the past if the club is granted council approval to allow developers to subdivide part of its current golf course.

The 300-member club revealed that – if its land is successfully rezoned, it will use the sale proceeds to finance building a new clubhouse and strengthening its financial future.

“The intention is to sell three holes to the developers and they will build a 60-lot housing development and then we will build a new clubhouse adjacent to the housing development and it will overlook the golf course,” said club secretary Barbara Thomas.

Under the plan, which the club hopes will be put to council in May, Wangaratta intends to allow development on its current short par-four seventh hole, the par-three 12th and the 390-metre dogleg left par-four 13th.

President Rob Holloway said the club has enough internal land to build three new holes, which is likely to necessitate changes to other parts of the course.

“We’re looking at probably three new greens and probably four or five new tees and the redesign of a few other holes,” Holloway admitted.

“I actually think it’s going to be better because the holes that will be redone are going to be a bit more interesting. It won’t just be ‘bomb it and chip it’ type holes, it’s going to be more designed around position play and risk and reward.”

Holloway revealed a pair of dams used for storm water run-off in the internal part of the course could be enlarged to bring them into play for golfers.

The club admitted its two-storey clubhouse – a late Victorian farmhouse built in the late 1800s – has long been impractical as a golf clubhouse because of its series of small rooms and absence of large function space.

“It’s really not satisfactory for our members because it isn’t big enough. I wouldn’t say it will be far superior but it will be a lot more practical, user-friendly clubhouse,” Thomas said.

“It’s going to cost an enormous amount of money to renovate it and it’s not cost-effective so it’s much better for us to sell off some of the land and build a new clubhouse and also sell this house as well.”

The club said it would need to wait at least 12 months after any land rezoning before its clubhouse could be put up for sale.

Thomas would not speculate on how much money the planned subdivision could free up for the club but is confident excess funds will remain for future course and facilities upgrades.

“We’ve got a budget and we hope to stick to it,” Thomas added.

This isn’t the first time Wangaratta has attempted to sow up its long-term financial viability with land development.

In December 2013, council rejected the club’s proposal to rezone part of its golf course but Thomas said the club is well aware of how to avoid a similar fate for its current plan.

“What we’ve looked at now is a different parcel of land and the developers are working with the council so that process doesn’t happen again.”

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