We think Australia needs more 9-hole golf courses and the new Geelong Golf Club may be the future of club golf.
Around the same time the professionals were taking all the limelight in the big Australian tournaments last year, a golf course in Geelong re-opened and in our opinion, it could be the way to get more people into the game and become the future of club golf.
After being closed for more than a decade, the Geelong Golf Club re-opened in last year with a brand new look. The previous 18-hole course has been replaced with a 9-hole golf course in a new residential estate.
As Victoria’s second oldest golf course, Geelong Golf Club has taken on a more contemporary working model that manager Paul Christie’s says is hoping to attract people who love the game, but don’t have the time to fit in a 5 hour round of golf each week.
“We have gone with the shorter course and quicker rounds. 90 minutes to play nine holes, cost effective with green fees starting from $15”, Christie told Aussie Golfer.
“These people that are time poor can’t fit more golf into their week. Why play one round that takes 5-hours plus travel when you can play three times a week and adds to the same amount of time on course. Just more of it.”
The new golf course is a fun design, and while it’s not overly long it’s a good test of your golf game with plenty to think about off the tee. Most holes require an good fairway positioning – short of bunkers and narrowing fairways – for an ideal line to the green.
The Graham Papworth designed course has Santa Anna couch fairways and bent grass greens, and includes four par-3s, four par-4s and a par-5. Two of the par-4s available to be played as a par-3 thanks to some tees positioned closer to the green.
In addition, the course has also has a superb practice area with five targets greens spread across two split fairways – something few other golf courses can claim to possess.
“Our target market is widely spread, it attracts the average golfer who just wants to have a hit, not discouraged by the normal time frame and costs associated with golf, the ladies enjoy the walk, again because 9 holes suits them better, young kids, seniors, we really cater for all.” Christie said.
“The better player also plays, even though we don’t have a long course you still need to play the right shots from the tee to give yourself a chance at birdie, greens are undulating and you need a good short game.”
The 2013 National Golf Participation Report indicated that approximately 50% of golf clubs are under financial distress and 2 out of every 3 golfers in Australia are non-club golfers who just play socially. This equates to around 800,000 golfers in the country who aren’t members of any golf club and just play when and where they can.
We would guess that a large portion of these social golfers would play more if they had the time or had easier access to quicker rounds of golf and Geelong Golf Club may just be the golf club model of the future.