Interest in the sport of golf has snowballed significantly since the COVID pandemic. But as the popular golf courses of the Eurobodalla welcome increasing numbers of players, those behind the scenes are also thinking about the future.
So what lies ahead for the Eurobodalla’s golf courses, and what can golfers of the next decade expect from a golfing holiday in the region?
Narooma Golf Club, Narooma
The whales too will likely continue impressing Narooma’s golfers, passing just offshore twice a year – once on their run north each winter and again on their return south in spring.
Unique views and impressive wildlife aside, the Narooma Golf Club’s 18 holes are part of what is currently ranked as Australia’s eighteenth best public access golf course. But for club management, a focus on the future means work is being done now to ensure the greens remain in top shape even as the climate changes.
“We’ve struggled with water on the front nine, even though we are irrigated out the back. Happily, we’ve just been able to put in a new irrigation system and have three dams that will keep it all nice and green,” says General Manager of Narooma Golf Club, Dominic Connaughton.
Like all of Eurobodalla’s golf courses, Narooma suits players with all levels of experience. It features a front nine with hilltop, cliff and ocean views, and a back nine with trees and water surrounds.
“Every hole is different,” Dominic says. “Newcomers prefer the lay-up areas which are playable without hitting to the ocean or into the tight woodland, while experienced players are keen to attack the pins,” he says. Whether an experienced golfer or a newcomer, all players will likely appreciate the club’s future plans:
“We are committed to ensuring the facilities in our clubhouse remain top class, plus to keeping our position in the top 20 public golf courses in Australia,” says Dominic. Actually, when it comes to the latter, Dominic is aiming even higher than the current (impressive) position 18:
“In a decade we’d like to climb nearer to the top ten,” he says.
Moruya Golf Club, Moruya
When CEO of Moruya Golf Club, Josh Prowse, (pictured) recently headed out on the course to watch the state championships of the PGA Australia, it quickly became obvious that a celebration was in order.
“One of the players got an albatross. It’s a big thing that only happens once or twice a year, so we awarded him with wine and club memorabilia,” Josh says.
It’s just one example of the friendly atmosphere the club is well known for.
However, that strong customer focus has one downside: it makes it hard to predict what the future holds for Moruya Golf Club.
“The direction of the club changes consistently with what customers want. We keep refreshing and modernising both the course and our social options, but we only plan one to three years ahead,” Josh says.
In recent years this has meant a big focus on ensuring membership plans change with the needs of Moruya’s customer base.
“As one example, our golfers under 35 may not have a lot of spare money as they are often investing in a home around this time. Their golf membership needs to acknowledge that,” he says.
It’s part of the club’s commitment to ensure that golf remains accessible as a sport.
“Golf is becoming quite expensive: we aim to be very affordable at all times,” says Josh.
Club Catalina, Batemans Bay
“We want to be the premium golfing destination on the South Coast,” says Club Catalina’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Maria Moreta (pictured).
Golfers at Club Catalina already benefit from the club’s focus on technology, where a TrackMan navigation system helps players understand and play the 27-hole championship course.
“Those that are very strategic will map it out beforehand, although the majority of people just use it from their mobile phones or our golf carts, which have just been fitted with the system as well,” Maria says.
Away from the tech, the future of Club Catalina can already be seen on its fifteenth hole.
Redesigned two years ago for “maximum challenge” by golf course architect Harley Kruse, the high-end design of the fifteenth is just the first of a course-wide improvement plan.
Kruse has also designed the remaining 26 holes: the new designs will gradually be rolled out over time. Heat-tolerant Zoysia grass will also become more prevalent on the course.
Then, there’s the club’s focus on people, both in and out of the club. Two highly experienced pros were brought on board in early 2021. They are currently spearheading a juniors’ program that will ensure local golfers have early opportunities well into the future. There are also big plans for the club’s women’s program.
“We have been investing heavily in getting that up and running – over time we think we will be known for that across New South Wales,” says Maria.