Golf gains momentum
THE organisers of last Saturday's Christmas in July function at the Gympie Pines Golf Club are already planning more initiatives to help ensure the survival of the course.
The Gympie Veterans Golf Club combined forces with the Gympie Golf Club to stage the event as a vehicle for welcoming new members and to send a clear message that increased membership is the best way to ensure that Gympie will always have an 18-hole championship golf course.
Nearly 100 people attended the evening, which featured a Christmas style dinner, lucky door prizes and a very popular trivia competition.
Gympie Vets' president Bryan Stallard said he hoped last Saturday's function was just the first step in a series of moves to boost club membership.
Stallard said more initiatives were in the pipeline, including a course open day where the public will get a free round of golf and a barbecue lunch.
However, he says while both clubs have lots of ideas to bring new members to the course, all such initiatives must be sanctioned and supported by the owners, Gympie Residential Golf.
"We can come up with the ideas but ultimately the final say remains with GRG.
"We've already suggested how the course could be improved to increase player enjoyment including an offer of volunteer labour as well as changes to the course layout with particular focus on unsuitable vegetation.
"Pleasingly, both suggestions received an initial positive response but this is just the start because no golf club can survive these days without thinking outside the tee box," Stallard said.
"Embracing juniors and their families, alternate membership models, utilising new technology and embracing fun-focused open days should underpin the marketing program of any golf club that wants to remain viable."
Stallard also believes a resident course professional is essential in developing a vibrant junior golf program to ensure young players are encouraged into the game.
"We can put forward these ideas but ultimately it's up to the owners to get on board with their support and play a key role in their organisation."
Stallard's comments have been endorsed by Gympie Golf Club president Con Meares.
"We've been encouraged by early dialogue with the owners but the members can't do this by themselves," said Meares.
"The best way to secure the future of the course is through a spirit of co-operation between the members and the owners," he said.