The Longyard Golf Course is on the verge of closing down for good according to owner John O’Rourke, who is asking council to “expedite” two development applications in order to save the business.
Mr O’Rourke claims that the loss of the driving range to accommodate an over 50s lifestyle resort, as well as a new 40 lot residential development on the north west edge are the only way the course can have a future.
“I need it to become viable very quickly or we call it quits and there is no golf course,” he said.
“I have subsidised the course for 13 of the 15 years I have owned it.”
Earlier this year some members, including past president Nick Broadbent came out swinging at the proposals, suggesting that they would “would change the length and nature of several holes” of the Greg Norman and Bob Harrison designed course.
Mr O’Rourke said the latest proposal won’t see any changes to the course, apart from the loss of the driving range, after altering the residential development from 57 lots to 40.
He also claims that development could open the course up to Arcadia Development residents, who would then have direct access, while the new developments will also capture water for course upkeep.
“It is critical for us to gain extra water, plus increase members and customers to sustain the course,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“We have also negotiated 7.5 per cent of profit (from the lifestyle resort) to remain attached to the course in perpetuity – so whether I own the course or not it will remain viable into the future.”
Course professional Steve Myers said while it would be a shame to lose the driving range, it is a small sacrifice to keep the course.
“From a professional point of view we want to do whatever it takes to keep the golf course here for the members to play, and for people to enjoy the venue,” he said.
“The water we would gain for the course would be worth $20,000 alone, so if that’s what needs to happen, then that’s what needs to happen.
“I would say we are at a fifty fifty of losing the course.”
Mr O’Rourke has urged members and residents to have their say when the lifestyle resort DA goes on public display at TRC in the coming days, or by contacting Kevin Anderson’s office.
“This is a significant piece of Tamworth’s history to lose, with a limited window to act to save it,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“While I would like it to remain a golfing facility, I am also realistic about changing times and changing community demand. Hence whether we close the course in the short term depends on whether approval is expedited for two proposed developments currently with council.”