Northern Golf Club has unveiled its three brand-new holes and announced a vision for a drastically improved water supply and long-term master plan of its course and clubhouse.
Members teed off Northern’s new Thomson Perrett-designed eighth, ninth and 10th holes on April 16.
“Nine and 10 are brand-new holes, which will probably be rated one and two as well,” said Northern General Manager Charles Potter. “Eight, which was a par-four, we’ve decided to make a par-five.”
The eighth has been extended for men from 390m to a 465m par-five to give the new 5965m course a par of 72.
The ninth has changed from a 484m par-five to a 385m par-four while the previous 400m par-four 10th has been stretched to 411m and is now Northern’s number one rated hole.
The changes have also toughened the women’s par-72 layout and bumped its slope rating from 119 to 123 while the men’s slope has climbed from 123 to 126.
“The members have had probably eight months of eight par-threes, from a par-72 down to a par-65 and 63 at times with many temporary greens. The new holes were out of play so we had to find three more holes,” Potter remarked.
The overhaul has extended to the former ninth hole, which has been turned into Northern’s new practice range complete with target greens while the club’s putting green and chipping area have been fully renovated.
Five-time Open Champion Peter Thomson – who grew up in Melbourne’s north – visited Northern in March to see Thomson Perrett’s changes taking shape.
“The board has also decided to do a course master plan through Thomson Perrett,” Potter said. “It would be a 20-year master plan we’re looking at and clubhouse refit, that’s in its infancy. I think there’s been four or five different master plans over the last 30 years at Northern. We’re also in the throes of putting in an extra hole, a 19th hole, up in our southwest corner. There’s a lot happening but there’s a lot more about to happen.”
In 2014, Moreland City Council bought a parcel of land from Northern bordering Glenroy Road, which had previously been used as the club’s practice fairway.
Northern’s old practice range wasn’t long enough to allow the use of drivers and fairways woods. It also posed a safety risk to motorists in a built-up area and has since been turned into green space.
Proceeds from the land sale have allowed Northern to more than double its water supply.
“We invested in a brand-new 10 megalitre dam that’s at the back of the 10th green and we also have another water resource dam in-between the third and the 15th. That’s what’s being positioned right now. We’re now taking out the island that was there and making that a 10 megalitre dam. From 29 useable megalitres of water, this winter, we’ll have 60 megalitres worth of water.”
Northern also installed a new irrigation system in early 2016.
“That now means our watering system is 33 per cent more efficient and much easier to manage.”