Inside Golf : Inside Golf January 2015
industry news 16 January 2015 | www.insidegolf.com.au North Ryde’s $2.4m course splashout a winner A BOLD, but well-researched decision four years ago by directors of Sydney’s North Ryde Golf Club to radically tackle the club’s financially draining water problem has paid off. The launch of its inspiring, new-look course this month, celebrates that now momentous decision and the culmination of a two-part, $2.4 million major course works project. Faced with the ongoing challenges of a parched, old-fashioned golf course, sustained by water at a cost of more than $100,000 annually, and a solid, but dormant, membership base, the board literally dived in with plans for an effective solution. The plan was to capture and utilise rainfall for as much irrigation purposes as possible. Once almost complete self-sufficiency for water use is achieved, funds previously budgeted to the expense of water will go towards continuous course improvement. Now the board anticipates a spike in activity from public players, corporate golf and more members to secure the club’s future, while reducing the impact on the environment by better water usage. Today the club, located about 10km north- west of the Sydney CBD, is truly flushed with the success of its “Dams Project” with 26,000 litres retained in three large on-course dams, complemented by two ponds. The course has been rejuvenated by some clever reworking of the layout at the hands of Golf By Design’s James Wilcher. Despite some initial, stern resistance from many of its (approximately) 1000 playing members, the board sought expert advice on how to reduce its water costs and, with no room for a massive dam, the brilliant system of connected, low-level water retention dams and ponds was developed. General Manager of North Ryde Golf Club, Anthony Dignan, sees the final overall result as a win, win, win, win for the 64-year-old club: • The annual water bill will be reduced from $140,000 in 2013 to virtually nil in 2015; • It now has a refreshed course, with four new holes boasting large impressive greens; • The visually spectacular water fountain display offers a superb day and night backdrop for weddings and other functions; • The proud North Ryde membership is already increasing, hopefully soon to the club’s glory days (not so long ago), of having a waiting list to become a golfing member. While the two-stage renovation and water resource innovations took 12 months— spanning two calendar years—the natural rainwater filling of the dams was dramatic and exciting. In just three days in August last year, the 26,0000 litre capacity of the dams almost was reached --surprising many of the critics of the scheme who predicted that the plan’s “ambitious specifications” meant the “dams would never be filled”. The raw statistics of the course – following the opening of the new-look first, fourth, ninth and 17th holes– means the layout now measures 5223m while retaining its original par of 69. The formerly old-fashioned tight tree- lined course which had many small greens now has a more inviting open modern look with some of the new greens measuring 460 square metres. And with the changes has come a more dynamic outlook for golfers with eight holes—the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, 10th and 17th offering the challenge of avoiding close proximity to water on each hole. In the old layout, three holes – the fourth, fifth and seventh – involved playing over water. And just as the abundance of water has seen the blossoming of many aspects of the re-design so has it attracted many compliments from people with a long connection with the club. Head Pro Marty Lyne, 32 years a PGA professional at North Ryde, says he hardly can believe the transformation. “In all the years I have been here I never thought I would see it looking so good. I’m sure the members will enjoy many aspects of the new layout.” Architect, James Wilcher is justifiably chuffed with the finished project, saying: “Firstly what we tried to do at North Ryde was satisfy the need to wean ourselves off Sydney water and then reuse the water we captured so that the course could be pretty much self-sufficient in all but the driest times. “Also the old course had a lot of little ponds that would cut across the middle of fairways often making it very difficult for older members. Where we have located the new ponds golfers can avoid them by playing alongside so there are no more forced water- carry shots. “By and large I think the membership will enjoy the challenge of their new layout and the club will have a better course to help attract new members and trade days. “I believe that golf courses can best be judged by the fact that golfers enjoy them and keep coming back to play and I hope that is the reaction to North Ryde.” • Refreshing outlook: North Ryde’s spectacular new water fountain Bill Colhoun firstname.lastname@example.org Monday, Tuesday froM 12.30pM sunday Mornings & oTher TiMes as available bookings essenTial pro shop (07) 5572 8972 Membership Open – Pro Rata Rates No Joining Fee. Phone (07) 5572 8266 Email email@example.com to stay up to date with our golfing specials www.burleighgolfclub.com.au $ 62.50* per player Burleigh Golf Club incl. golf carT *2 or more players, in pairs.
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Inside Golf February 2015