Karana Downs

THWACK, thwack, thwack! That’s the sound of golf balls once again being launched into orbit over Karana Downs golf course near Ipswich in southeast Queensland.

The golf course had been at the centre of a three-year battle between the resident-run Karana Downs Community Lifestyle Protection Group (KDCLPG) and developer Karana Waters, which lost an appeal to turn the 38ha site into a housing estate.

So, more than 18 months after closing, the sounds of golfers on the fairways has returned.

Clubhouse renovations are complete and the chatter of golfers again fills the air with stories of birdie putts, booming drives and missed opportunities.

Owner Brett Lawton said 180 golfers attended the June 8 opening day and more than 100 players had joined the club.

In the past five months, Lawton has invested $1m on clubhouse renovations, course improvements, golf carts and equipment.

“Golfers can expect a decent standard golf course,” he said.

“The course has been around for 30 years and we just had to clean it up again.

“We don’t have dreams of hosting any major events or anything extravagant.

“We are a suburban course and we have to look after the regulars and the locals, who want to play some golf and have fun.”

KDCLPG spokesperson Sue Cardy said the community group was delighted to see the golf course open for play.

“We couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome,” she said.

“The developer was going to carve up the land into what we considered to be small lot housing and that was our objection. Over 50 per cent was going to be 400sq/m blocks.”

“A large proportion of our community is overjoyed that Brett Lawton is back in the business,” Cardy said.

When Karana Downs closed its doors in 2011, the clubhouse and golf course became derelict.

“There was three-foot high grass everywhere and was an overgrown snake pit, but it’s starting to look fantastic again,” Cardy said.

Since February, course superintendent Trevor Weinert has worked overtime to bring the course, which backs on to the Brisbane River, back to life and it appears he is winning the battle.

When the course closed, the only sounds coming from the golf course were that of kookaburra laughter and other bird trills.

Now the residents of this tight-knit community, too, are laughing following their win over the proposed housing development.

Thwack! A golfer curses a wayward drive and a kookaburra “laughs”.

Welcome back to Karana Downs.


About David Newbery

Chief writer David Newbery has been living, breathing and writing and editing golf for more than 30 years. His extensive knowledge of the game comes from covering golf around the world. Hired by Inside Golf in 2009, David previously worked as the editor of The Golfer for 25 years and before that worked for numerous daily newspapers in Australia and overseas. The Brisbane-based journalist describes his golf game as “a work in progress”, but has had the privilege of playing golf with some of the game’s best players including nine-time major winner Gary Player. David enjoys travelling, reading, music, photography and spending time with family and friends – on and off the golf course.


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