PACIFIC Golf Club in Brisbane’s southeast is one of those feel-good stories.
“Things have been on the up-and-up ever since we put in place better processes,” said the club’s general manager Cameron Harvey.
A new course superintendent, course improvements and renovations, a beautification program and changes to the catering department have given the popular club a new lease of life.
“We are back in the game,” Harvey enthused.
“Our golf course is sensational, the clubhouse is warm and friendly and our membership is growing.”
Harvey gives new course superintendent Shaun O’Leary much of the credit for the resurgence of Pacific.
“Shaun was second in charge for the last couple of years and before that he spent 20 years at Bribie Island. He has taken the golf course to a new level.
“Our renovation practices have been better in the last two years and the greens are the healthiest they have been for 15-20 years. The greens are back to a good quick speed.
“Now we are concentrating on beautifying the golf course again.
“Life member Tom Hogan is starting to do more work on the Augusta National-styled bridges around the golf course.”
The gardens and native shrubbery around the fifth hole resemble Augusta’s gardens and the par-5 11th is strikingly similar to Augusta’s 13th hole.
It seems Pacific is addressing all areas of the facility to make it even more special for members and visitors.
Pacific Golf Club, home of the Gary Player Classic, is a traditional golf club with a difference.
“We are a community club, but we have strong traditions for golf,” Harvey said.
“There are 3600 social members, many of whom enjoy our dining experience seven days a week as well as the gaming and entertainment.
“Pacific is a family-friendly club with a kids’ club on Friday and Saturday nights, which allows parents to dine in comfort.
“We have a professional team in the kitchen and the food is very good so a lot of families dine here.”
The club has 1100 golfing members with more than 65,000 rounds played in a calendar year.
Surprisingly, membership is open in most categories although that could change because there is a steady influx of new members arriving regularly.
“Anyone who joins the club has the chance to win a new Yamaha golf cart and members who introduce a new member are also in the draw,” Harvey said.
Pacific’s championship layout has always been a challenge, but it’s become even more of a challenge since the introduction of the Black Snake Challenge.
The Blake Snake Challenge is open to members and visitors and is on the last Friday of every month.
“It’s when we set up the golf course at its hardest. Two holes, the seventh and the 11th, have a back tee that haven’t been used for years so we’ve started using them again for Black Snake Challenge.
“This is the course at its hardest, which is exactly what golfers want – a challenge. We are getting plenty of visitors coming along to take up the challenge.
“The course is already a demanding test from the normal tee position, but if you really want a challenge come along and play in the Black Snake Challenge,” Harvey said.
“You always have to think your way around Pacific, but on Black Snake days you really have to concentrate.”
What adds to the test is Bulimba Creek, which meanders through the golf course.
“It makes you think and you can’t just blaze away,” Harvey said.
“The course is extremely picturesque, but it will bite you if you keep gazing at the beauty of the place.
“We add to the natural beauty by making features out of the waterways and ponds and the wildlife love it.”
The 403m, par-4 fifth hole is arguably the toughest hole on the course, but the 529m opening hole is a bit of a knee-knocker, according to Harvey.
“It’s a cracker, especially if you haven’t warmed up properly,” he said.
“It’s got length, a hill, a water carry, is tight on second half of fairway and bunkers guard the left side of the narrow green. The hole will let you know you’ve arrived.”
In fact, all the par-5s (1st, 9th, 11th and 18th) are risk-and-reward holes.
The 130m par-3 13th hole offers the best chance at a birdie.
Visitors green fees range from $35-40 midweek and $48 on weekends.
“Most days there is a window of opportunity to play, but Mondays and Fridays are best for groups and visitors,” Harvey said.
The course is open to social players and social clubs on Sundays.
Pacific has excellent facilities including a chipping and putting green, a practice fairway and a nine-hole par-3 course.
Pacific Golf Club’s highly experienced pro shop staff are friendly and oversee arguably the best junior program in the country.
Led by club pro Paul Hazlett and teaching pro Mark Victorsen, Pacific is rich in talented juniors aged from six to 18.
It’s not uncommon for parents to travel long distances to ensure their children receive the expert tuition. A good indicator is the success of the club’s excellent pennant and individual results in recent years.
As a corporate and wedding venue, Pacific Golf Club’s reputation is right up there with the best, especially after finishing runner-up in club reception for wedding venues category at the ABIA (Australian Bridal Industry Academy) awards.
So, like a good red wine, 77-year-old Pacific Golf Club just gets better with age. Little wonder the members are proud of their wonderful club.
For more information, call the club on (07) 3343-0888 or visit www.pacificgolf.com.au
Pacific – what’s in a name?
HOW did Pacific Golf Club get its name and where is the club located?
Well, Pacific Golf Club has had two homes – the first bordered Kessels and Logan roads at Mt Gravatt now the site of Garden City Shopping Complex, and its current home on Pine Mountain Road, Carindale in Brisbane’s southeast.
When the club first opened in 1937, the Pacific Highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast virtually went past the original clubhouse and the consensus is that’s how Pacific Golf Club derived its name.
Pacific moved to its present site in 1964 – 50 years ago.
The old Pacific was the brainchild of Leo McIntyre, who almost single-handedly transformed heavily wooded acreage into a nine-hole layout.
He practically did everything – the mowing, greenkeeping, business operation, bartending, secretarial duties and organising the fields.
It wasn’t uncommon to see Leo and his draught horse Darkie “mowing” the fairways, pulling out trees, pulling over fences and hauling debris away.
Somehow, Leo still found time to be club champion.
The late Bill Kennedy, aka Mr Golf, joined the club in 1958 and was instrumental in the sale of the old course and the new course.
Rumour has it he even paid the deposit for the land out of his own pocket.
A Pacific Golf Club stalwart, Kennedy was also the Queensland Golf Union’s (now Golf Queensland) long-serving executive director in the 1970-’80s.
What he didn’t know about golf in Queensland wasn’t worth knowing.
In 1985, he received an Order of Australia Medal for services to golf and was Pacific’s guiding light during a 14-year reign as club president.
Today Pacific Golf Club remains a progressive and thriving club thanks to the foresight of men like Kennedy and the club’s original founder Leo McIntyre, who put the club on the map in 1937.
Those who followed the McIntyres and Kennedys have continued the good work and today the international standard golf course is as picturesque as it is challenging.
Pacific hosted its first State Open in 1972 and it has been the venue of the popular Gary Player Classic since 1975.
Kennedy was the chief architect of these achievements.
As an aside, Kennedy, who never professed to be a good golfer, did lay claim to the longest drive seen on the course.
Hitting off the first tee, his ball landed in a groundsman’s truck that was passing and finished up at the machinery shed at the third hole.