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Golf club enters voluntary administration amid redevelopment project

Golf club enters voluntary administration amid redevelopment project The six new holes under construction next to the old part of the course.
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The six new holes under construction next to the old part of the course.

New holes under construction next to the old part of the course.

New holes under construction next to the old part of the course.

The Aveo retirement village, top right, under construction in the middle of the old part of the course.

New holes under construction next to the old part of the course.

TweetFacebookGolf industry in declineShortland Waters’ financial problems reflect a widespread decline in the golf industry, which has increasingly struggled to attract time-poor customers.

Many other Hunter clubs, including Merewether, Newcastle, Waratah and Belmont, are examining redevelopment opportunities to boost flagging income.

Cessnock Golf Club went into vuluntary administration in May with debts of more than $11 million, 13 years afterentering into a joint venture with Daracon Group for a $30 million redevelopment.

Mr Duggan said he had no regrets about the Aveo deal, which had saved Shortland Waters from oblivion two years ago, and the club had no major debts.

“The only problem with that is the length of time the development has impacted on the course. The club itself, prior to the development, was basically heading out of business,” he said.

The new clubhouse at Shortland Waters.

“You drive in and all you can see is wire fences everywhere. I call it the Hunter Street syndrome.

“I’m certain that with the new golf holes beingready for play early in the new year, all the work surrounding the new clubhouse completed in the next month or two, we’ll have a brand new product to get to the market place.”

Club members bought the Steelworks course off BHP in 2000 and renamed it Shortland Waters.

Without a merger, the club will have to seek a line of credit to paystaff and other operating costs.

‘Use it or lose it’Mr Duggan said Aveo wasnot interested in taking over the course.

“At the end of the day,what people have to realiseis whether we maintain a community asset in community hands or whether it eventually cedes to becoming a piece of real estate.That’s the different picture.

“It’s the old case of use it lose it. If you can’t maintain it as a community golf course –if it’s nota financially viable proposition – the land gets liquidated, a developer comes in and buys it and turns it into a housing estate.”

Aveo said in June that it had sold all 50 houses in the $25 million first stage of the $220 million Shortland Waters development and was breaking ground on the 45 villas in stage two.

The Newcastle Herald approached Aveo for comment.

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