Close by, accessible, an ideal option on the NSW south coast

UNDER an hour from Sydney’s southern suburbs and just 15 minutes from the heart of Wollongong, is The Grange Golf Club.  

After a traffic light at Heathcote, when heading south the next stop doesn’t come until on the doorstep of The Grange, after a leisurely 40-minute drive down the M1, making the course close, accessible and an ideal option for Sydney golfers, as much as it is a desirable golfing destination for Dapto, Wollongong and south coast locals. 

A challenging course, treelined, featuring lush kikuyu fairways and bent greens, protected by Mullet creek, The Grange has a strong membership base, a committed and enthusiastic staff, while utilising the combined skills and resources of a global golf management heavyweight, a flourishing licensed local sporting club and a Golf Operations manager with extensive knowledge of the club and the local Dapto and Kembla Grange area. 

While the golf course may be the showcase item, with a refurbished clubhouse, The Grange also doubles as a unique weddings and functions location, ready to roll out the red carpet in catering for a variety of events.  

Now 60 years old after opening with the backing of the local iron and coal colliery, The Grange Golf Club is entering into an exciting new era, with its doors, and the first tee, open to visitors and golfers from near and far. 

The course – Beware Mullet creek 

A layout which presents two contrasting nines, golfers best beware of Mullet Creek, which comes into play on eight holes in winding its way throughout the course. 

Many a promising round has come unstuck at the par three 18th, regarded as the signature hole at The Grange, where any tee shot from the back markers struck short or right finishes in the deep ravine and in the flowing waters of the creek, the only thing sitting between the golfer and the front edge of the green. 

It is a course featuring subtle difficulties and a variety of challenges, which can be enjoyed by elite level players and social golfers alike, perhaps even more so in recent times following the acquisition of Hayden Westwood, a talented and dedicated course superintendent recruited from The Australian Golf Club in Sydney. 

Matt Carter, Grange Golf Operations Manager, has no doubt the expertise of Westwood and his senior 2IC have considerably enhanced the condition of the course over the past 12 to 18 months. 

“These two guys have brought in a different culture. They are at a senior level and have come in with a great work ethic,” Carter said. “And it’s rubbed off on the other guys.

“They’ve got the golf course in a really good spot.”   

Kicking off with a par five, the outward half at The Grange is relatively flat, and easy to walk, highlighted by two more testing par threes on the fourth and seventh holes.   

The back nine then begins with another
par three, mid-length to a smallish green, before the last eight holes offer subtle undulation and perhaps more variety than the front nine, culminating in the daunting finishing hole. 

“The rough can be thick and long, and the trees are tall, if you’re not in the fairway, it’s hard to score,” Carter warned. 

That being said, The Grange is certainly playable and to be enjoyed by all levels of golfer, following recent renovations the course plays to a par of 70, with a slope rating of 125, and a par of 70, slope 128, for women.

Management – In good hands 

In 2016 Dapto Leagues Club signed an exclusive deal with Troon®, a global giant in upscale golf facility management, development and marketing, the Troon partnership with The Grange taking place after the club had undergone a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the clubhouse, function facilities and the golf course.

After starting with one facility in 1990, Troon is now the world’s largest professional club management company, providing services to some 875 or more locations worldwide. 

Troon placed the experienced Scott McCaw into the role of Golf Operations Manager, his move to The Grange coming after a previous posting in the middle east. 

While McCaw has recently moved on, his appointment was a clear indication of Troon’s desire to help drive the growth and development of The Grange.   

Carter, now having stepped up into the senior golf operations role, has been a part of the proverbial furniture at The Grange since his junior days, having won the Club Championship in 2004 before becoming the trainee professional under Wayne Parlato, then head pro, is armed with years of local knowledge, as well as lessons learned from McCaw, while enjoying the support of Troon and the Dapto Leagues Club. 

“You could say Troon are my ‘tool box’.
They offer great support,” Carter began. “If there is anything of concern, we’ve got people to bounce off. If there is an issue, we can go to them to see if any of their other facilities have faced similar. 

“They came on board in 2016, tied in with the clubhouse build and when the bunkers were redone. I was here throughout the whole transition. 

“And with Scott’s guidance, I’ve also grown a lot myself,” Carter added.  

As part of his role, Carter has a strong relationship with the management at Dapto Leagues, an extremely financially viable club operating nearby, The Grange on offering their facilities doubling as a premium events and functions venue. 

“Our relationship with Dapto Leagues David Hiscox the CEO, who is our direct contact there, is very positive. Chloe Dawson is the functions coordinator, and she has a strong team under her.

The Grange clubhouse, equipped with a commercial kitchen, is a spectacular wedding venue, while also operating as a training functions and assorted events option, in delivering a premium golfing and events experience to golfers and residents of the NSW Illawarra region and to visitors from further afield.  

The Member experience – juniors and social golf welcomed

The Grange Golf Club members, who currently number in excess of 600, can play the course any and all days of the week, for a competitive yearly rate. 

Grange members gain access to not only the golf club benefits but also to the extensive facilities of Dapto Leagues Club including cafe’s, restaurants, bars, entertainment, and promotions, while with the club being a part of the Troon network, they enjoy Troon Advantage rates at other Troon facilities around the world.  

Competitive green fee rates also make The Grange an attractive option for social play, which is available seven-days, with golf carts available for hire.  

Membership is open in all categories, including 7-Day, 5-Day, Youth (18-30 years) and Juniors, with no joining fee, at rates competitive if not better than other clubs in the vicinity. 

Similarly, social golfers will be accommodated seven days, outside of member competition times, at highly competitive green fee rates, and with the course a short drive from Sydney’s south, Sundays are popular for social golf clubs. 

“Sunday social club play is by no means booked out, but we currently do about 40 Sunday’s a year,” Carter said, in a clear message encouraging those clubs interested to book early to avoid disappointment. 

Carter also expressed that getting more 18-to-30-year old’s on the course, in addition to encouraging more juniors to play the game, was a potential area for growth in the years to come. 

“There has been a huge influx of young guys playing golf. We used to have 30-40 in our youth membership category, now we have 120.” 

The future – welcoming golfers, young and old 

With the course located in an area which is a short drive from Wollongong and the south coast beachside lifestyle, young families are being attracted to the region, with population growing considerably in and around Dapto and The Grange club. 

That being the case, with more families likely to set up home nearby, one of the plans for the future of The Grange centres around encouraging more junior participation. 

Golf Operations Supervisor / Teaching Professional Derek Cole, who grew up in Michigan in the US, did his training in Southern California, then moved to Australia in 2017 before working at golf clubs in Sydney, came to The Grange from his most recent appointment at The Highlands GC in Mittagong. 

His goal is to build coaching and junior programs at The Grange and to attract more youngsters to the course and to the game of golf.  

“I’ve already started doing some coaching and I’m going to drive that forward, especially with the junior aspect,” Cole said. 

“The area is growing and a lot of families are looking to get involved in golf, so I’ll be trying to build a strong junior program.” 

“There is a clean slate to re-build our coaching and junior programs,” Carter agreed. “I’m more than happy if Derek has the time. 

“It is suggested that in excess of 30,000 homes will be added in the future to the West Dapto area and surrounds, the housing demand and growth obviously meaning more people in the area,” Carter reasoned.   

Which adds up to a positive future for The Grange Golf Club. 

However, in focusing on the present, The Grange offers a first-class golfing experience, with reasonably priced greens fees and competitive member rates, a premium event space, and a welcoming atmosphere for all who visit. 

For those who live close by, take advantage of what you have on your doorstep, for golfers frustrated by expensive rates and crowded courses in Sydney, The Grange isn’t far, only one traffic light to stop you from Heathcote to Dapto, and chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised once you arrive. 

The History 

Originally named the AIS Collieries Golf Club – The Grange, the course opened on the current site in 1964, with 2024 representing the club’s 60th anniversary. 

The course began operating under the control of the local Port Kembla iron and coal colliery, with Sir Ian McClelland the first Club President.

International golf and facilities management company Troon, partnering with the Dapto Leagues Club, are now working together to make The Grange course challenging, enjoyable and accessible, and the refurbished clubhouse a welcoming environment for that special wedding, event or functions.  

The Grange Golf Club 

Course open 7-days per week – competition and social play

Memberships, green fees, weddings, functions

Princes Hwy, 10 Kembla Grange, NSW 2526

Phone for all enquiries: (02) 4261 1647

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