Club digs itself out of the bunker

30 May, 2017 07:37 AM
Comments
0
 
 The Tambellup Golf Club has experienced steady growth over the past four years and was recently named the runner up to 2017 Regional Golf Facility of the Year at the WA Golf Industry gala dinner.
The Tambellup Golf Club has experienced steady growth over the past four years and was recently named the runner up to 2017 Regional Golf Facility of the Year at the WA Golf Industry gala dinner.

THE future of the Tambellup Golf Club was looking pretty grim four years ago.

After 80 years of operation the Great Southern club was losing money to the point that if its mower had broken down, there wouldn’t have been any money to fix it.

Club president Paul Cunningham said things had been on the slide since 2005, with member numbers slowly decreasing to the point that in 2013 they were having an average of 10 players per week.

“It got to the stage that the subs weren’t paying the bills,” Paul said.

Fast forward four years and things are on the up – to the point that the club was recently named the runner-up 2017 Regional Golf Facility of the Year at the WA Golf Industry gala dinner.

It has been a remarkable turnaround but was not something that happened overnight as Paul and vice president Dean Hull can attest to.

In 2013 the club was in such a dire position that the volunteer-run committee had to make some tough decisions – could the club, which had been a mainstay of the town, 317 kilometres south-east of Perth since 1933, be saved?

Or would it go the same way as the local football club, which had folded a decade earlier?

Fortunately, a desire to make some changes and salvage the club was given a boost by hosting the 2014 Southern Districts Golf Association annual carnival.

The Tambellup committee declined the opportunity to host it the previous year due to a lack of numbers, but in 2014 they felt the timing was right.

Paul said it turned out to be a very well-run event, as it provided a much-needed financial boost.

That set the wheels in motion for taking stock of how the club was being run, and what could potentially be done differently over the six months it was open each year.

Playing 18 holes of golf from noon on a Saturday for locals who had travelled out of town for morning sport, was identified as a major barrier.

“A lot of the junior sport is played out of town, mostly in Katanning, so a lot of people just couldn’t get back in time for a 12 o’clock start,” he said.

A nine-hole competition, teeing off at 2pm Saturday, in addition to the 18-hole games, was then introduced.

Paul said that doubled the club’s weekly average to about 20 players each week when compared with 2013.

Then in 2015, the committee decided to tap into the potential of more female players by hosting a ladies coaching clinic.

After seeking advice and securing funding from governing body Golf WA, the club invited women to attend the event, with no prior experience required – with the flyer stating “the less experience the better”.

To their surprise, the event was sold out in no time, with 25 women quickly signing up, some of whom had never played the game before.

This has now become an annual event and continues to sell out with up to 30 women attending each time.

Dean said these options helped the club’s resurgence with the majority of weekly players now being women.

In 2016 there were 57 financial members with an average of 25 people playing each Saturday – a far cry from 2013 when there was an average of 10 players each weekend.

Paul and Dean, both broadacre sheep and grain farmers aged in their 40s, are acutely aware of the impact of getting caught up in work on the farm and being time-poor when it came to leisure activities.

Paul said he also recognised the importance of clubs surviving in country towns and the positive impact they could have on the mental health of locals.

“Strong towns generally have strong sporting clubs,” he said.

Paul said towns were getting smaller while farms were getting bigger, which meant the remaining farmers were getting less leisure time.

He said farmers still needed to make an effort to play sport at least once a week, otherwise sporting clubs and in turn towns would die a slow death.

Paul said people were working so hard these days that playing a round of golf was a great way to enjoy the camaraderie and friendship, no matter what their age, gender or skill level.

“You really have to get off the land for half a day each week, if only for your own mental health, otherwise you can easily become a recluse,” he said.

About once a month they hold events such as a burger night to try and get people to stick around for a bit longer, which were proving successful.

The club is also let out to community groups – for example, the local St John Ambulance sub-centre holds a Twilight Tunes event there for free and the club organises putting and hole-in-one competitions to help fundraise, exposing new players to the game.

Paul said the local football club had folded about 15 years ago, leaving hockey and golf as the only local sports available.

He said the hockey club was a very strong and successful club, which meant it was difficult to attract potential players to golf, but they were doing the best they could.

Paul said the challenge to keep current players on the course was no different to what any of the other golf clubs that punctuated the Great Southern landscape every 30 or 40 kilometres was experiencing.

He said it was a sign of the times, which he and Dean as farmers both understood, and was why the nine-hole concept had worked so well for those unable to play 18 holes.

The club also has strong involvement from the local indigenous community.

Things are certainly heading in the right direction with club membership slowly increasing and its financial position strengthening.

Tambellup will host its annual Men’s Open Day on July 16 and the Ladies Open Day on July 25 for the first time in about 10 years, with players across the State invited to nominate.

The course, which has sand greens that are flat and quite short, is sure to present participants with a good challenge.

“It’s rough is notorious, what you’d call the roughest of rough – once you get in it, you battle to get out again,” Dean laughed.

“You certainly learn how to hit a straight ball.”

In the third school term this year, the clinic for local primary school students, attracting about 25 players, will be held.

Paul said they were extremely grateful to Golf WA for the funding and assistance they had provided.

They had also been fortunate to have Great Southern Fuels supply fuel to run the club mower, equating to about $10,000 in the past 10 years.

After 80 years of operation the Great Southern club was losing money to the point that if its mower had broken down, there wouldn’t have been any money to fix it.

Club president Paul Cunningham said things had been on the slide since 2005, with member numbers slowly decreasing to the point that in 2013 they were having an average of 10 players per week.

“It got to the stage that the subs weren’t paying the bills,” Paul said.

Fast forward four years and things are on the up – to the point that the club was recently named the runner-up 2017 Regional Golf Facility of the Year at the WA Golf Industry gala dinner.

It has been a remarkable turnaround but was not something that happened overnight as Paul and vice president Dean Hull can attest to.

In 2013 the club was in such a dire position that the volunteer-run committee had to make some tough decisions – could the club, which had been a mainstay of the town, 317 kilometres south-east of Perth since 1933, be saved?

Or would it go the same way as the local football club, which had folded a decade earlier?

Fortunately, a desire to make some changes and salvage the club was given a boost by hosting the 2014 Southern Districts Golf Association annual carnival.

The Tambellup committee declined the opportunity to host it the previous year due to a lack of numbers, but in 2014 they felt the timing was right.

Paul said it turned out to be a very well-run event, as it provided a much-needed financial boost.

That set the wheels in motion for taking stock of how the club was being run, and what could potentially be done differently over the six months it was open each year.

Playing 18 holes of golf from noon on a Saturday for locals who had travelled out of town for morning sport, was identified as a major barrier.

“A lot of the junior sport is played out of town, mostly in Katanning, so a lot of people just couldn’t get back in time for a 12 o’clock start,” he said.

A nine-hole competition, teeing off at 2pm Saturday, in addition to the 18-hole games, was then introduced.

Paul said that doubled the club’s weekly average to about 20 players each week when compared with 2013.

Then in 2015, the committee decided to tap into the potential of more female players by hosting a ladies coaching clinic.

After seeking advice and securing funding from governing body Golf WA, the club invited women to attend the event, with no prior experience required – with the flyer stating “the less experience the better”.

To their surprise, the event was sold out in no time, with 25 women quickly signing up, some of whom had never played the game before.

This has now become an annual event and continues to sell out with up to 30 women attending each time.

Dean said these options helped the club’s resurgence with the majority of weekly players now being women.

In 2016 there were 57 financial members with an average of 25 people playing each Saturday – a far cry from 2013 when there was an average of 10 players each weekend.

Paul and Dean, both broadacre sheep and grain farmers aged in their 40s, are acutely aware of the impact of getting caught up in work on the farm and being time-poor when it came to leisure activities.

Paul said he also recognised the importance of clubs surviving in country towns and the positive impact they could have on the mental health of locals.

“Strong towns generally have strong sporting clubs,” he said.

Paul said towns were getting smaller while farms were getting bigger, which meant the remaining farmers were getting less leisure time.

He said farmers still needed to make an effort to play sport at least once a week, otherwise sporting clubs and in turn towns would die a slow death.

Paul said people were working so hard these days that playing a round of golf was a great way to enjoy the camaraderie and friendship, no matter what their age, gender or skill level.

“You really have to get off the land for half a day each week, if only for your own mental health, otherwise you can easily become a recluse,” he said.

About once a month they hold events such as a burger night to try and get people to stick around for a bit longer, which were proving successful.

The club is also let out to community groups – for example, the local St John Ambulance sub-centre holds a Twilight Tunes event there for free and the club organises putting and hole-in-one competitions to help fundraise, exposing new players to the game.

Paul said the local football club had folded about 15 years ago, leaving hockey and golf as the only local sports available.

He said the hockey club was a very strong and successful club, which meant it was difficult to attract potential players to golf, but they were doing the best they could.

Paul said the challenge to keep current players on the course was no different to what any of the other golf clubs that punctuated the Great Southern landscape every 30 or 40 kilometres was experiencing.

He said it was a sign of the times, which he and Dean as farmers both understood, and was why the nine-hole concept had worked so well for those unable to play 18 holes.

The club also has strong involvement from the local indigenous community.

Things are certainly heading in the right direction with club membership slowly increasing and its financial position strengthening.

Tambellup will host its annual Men’s Open Day on July 16 and the Ladies Open Day on July 25 for the first time in about 10 years, with players across the State invited to nominate.

The course, which has sand greens that are flat and quite short, is sure to present participants with a good challenge.

“It’s rough is notorious, what you’d call the roughest of rough – once you get in it, you battle to get out again,” Dean laughed.

“You certainly learn how to hit a straight ball.”

In the third school term this year, the clinic for local primary school students, attracting about 25 players, will be held.

Paul said they were extremely grateful to Golf WA for the funding and assistance they had provided.

They had also been fortunate to have Great Southern Fuels supply fuel to run the club mower, equating to about $10,000 in the past 10 years.

FarmWeekly

POST A COMMENT


Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *
 

COMMENTS

light grey arrow
I'm one of the people who want marijuana to be legalized, some city have been approved it but
light grey arrow
#blueysmegacarshowandcruise2019 10 years on Daniels Ute will be apart of another massive cause.
light grey arrow
Australia's live animal trade is nothing but a blood stained industry that suits those who