With the recent announcement by the owners of Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm links courses located in the North East and the plan to establish a golf course in the south of the state at Seven Mile Beach I pondered the success of links golf in our state.
The success keeps on building especially with the already highly ranked Barnbougle and Lost Farm courses in addition to the now becoming popular Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes both on King Island all in the top ten public courses in Australia.
Renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus known as the 'Golden Bear' once stated: "When the British Open is in Scotland, there's something special about it. And when it's at St. Andrews, it's even greater."
I recall an enthusiastic young golfer by the name of Greg Ramsay with a vision to establish a links course on land owned by Richard and Sally Sattler at Bridport amongst the sand dunes modelled on the famous St Andrews course.
All those years ago as a Dorset Councillor receiving a presentation where at the time Richard Sattler sought in kind support from council to undertake the road works into the proposed site. Mr Sattler indicated during the course of the briefing he knew very little about golf but was prepared to give what he considered a good idea a go.
Council agreed to the request, it is clear Mr Sattler did then and continues to know a good idea and as they say the rest is history!
Interestingly during the demise of the forest industry together with the closure of two sawmills, which at the time were considered one of the largest employment industries in the North East, the Sattler family enterprises stepped up to take the title - thank heavens for golf and the associated experiences, accommodation, food and beverage that come when sport and leisure meet hospitality.
We have seen the significant benefits of the golfing industry and what is needed are investors and developers willing to continue to build the quality accommodation that has become a sort after feature of playing golf and accessing the associated experiences that go hand in hand with this sport.
From speaking to a recent visitor to King Island, where it is beautiful one day and magical the next, he and his partner who both love golfing noted the only thing lacking on the Island is more accommodation.
With the current Covid-19 situation, which could be with us well into future according to some of the experts, then I suggest more people will be choosing to holiday at home.
A recent conversation with a fellow Tasmanian couple tells me that Bruny Island is fully booked until May this year and that didn't surprise me.
Every week I am hearing of locals heading to the islands. Whether it be Bruny, Flinders or King, I'm happy to repeat my words: "There is something romantic about holidaying and exploring an island in your own state"
It was great to hear the positive comments from a representative of the Coal Valley Golf Club, who recently responded to the announcement of the Seven Mile Beach proposal. The representative talked up the benefits of more links experiences in our state and bringing golfers on a links course road show around the state.
As an island state with stunning coast line, the spectacular scenery from the links courses in Tasmania more than compensate a poor form round of golf.
It's hard to argue with that logic, and what's losing a golf ball or six matter.
In fact, I believe there is quite a little side industry brewing for those keen to hunt for wayward golf balls, which could then be re-sold to the next lot of golfers!
In fact many who will come here could also play some of our great 9 hole country courses dotted around Tasmania such as Moorina, Ringarooma, Roseberry, Tarraleah, Orford, Tasman, Stanley and Freycinet just to name a few, along with some of our other excellent 18 hole courses!
I urge councils and communities to embrace the links phenomena, the proponents know what they are doing, the runs are on the board and the first-class facilities that sit alongside the golf course are as much frequented by the local community as the visitors - a win-win for everyone.
I urge councils and communities to embrace the links phenomena.
How do I know this? I've seen firsthand and sat around that council table 20 plus years ago when the links golf course was a concept that needed local council support!
For example, the North East community showcases to friends, family and visitors the wonderful assets that have been established amongst the dunes of Barnbougle and Lost Farm and I expect this is the case on King Island as the popularity of links golf increases.
Golfing is a passion for many or perhaps even an obsession for some and for someone close to me it's certainly has become a priority passion.
Perhaps with the arrival of a new grandchild golf may be relegated from priority activity, post the month of May will tell!