Sunday, May 15, marked exactly 50 years since the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club held its very first golf tournament back in 1966 and on Saturday night the club celebrated this momentous occasion.
The anniversary dinner was a time for members to remember and commemorate the club’s past but also to look forward and plan for its future.
It was the final event as part of the club’s 50th year celebrations which started on May 15, 2015, with a 60s themed American golf tournament and was followed by a cabaret night last July.
Saturday’s event started with speeches from life member John Carter and Christine Kaine – the daughter of the club’s first president Authur Kaine – spoke about the club’s early years.
They painted a picture of how the club grew from a few volunteers and 52 acres of Crown Land to what is widely acclaimed as one of the best 27 hole golf courses on the coast between Sydney and Melbourne.
However, the majority of the night was spent looking to the future rather than reflecting on the past. Vice president of Pambula Merimbula Golf Club, Tony Freeman, gave an informative speech about what he felt is needed to turn the club around after a few difficult years.
“Our strategy over the last couple of years, while operating within a limited budget, has been to raise the standard and presentation of the course to help attract more players and visitors,” Mr Freeman said.
“Trading conditions have been tough over the last few years. The Club must work hard to generate more support from members to help improve our trading performance.”
Mr Freeman emphasised that as the club moves forward it must learn to “live within our means”, but he also stated that a $1million upgrade to the course irrigation system in 2017 is vital for the club’s survival.
“There is no time left for our system,” he said. “An updated irrigation system is the key to our future.
“With Canberra Airport opening up to international tourist flights and hopefully an improved Merimbula Airport, plus increasing cruise ship traffic at Eden, then we must concentrate on attracting international golf tourists to the Bega Valley.”
Member for Bega Andrew Constance and member for Eden Monaro Peter Hendy both attended the celebrations and gave their support to Golf Club’s efforts to secure funding to pay for the upgrade.
“You can’t have a golf club without an irrigation system and this club is going to require our support,” Mr Constance said. “This Club is directly associated with employing many locals and brings in some tourism, it is only right that tax payer money goes towards supporting it into the future.”
At the end of the night members all agreed that this funding is essential to provide a solid foundation for the club to continue for the next 50 years.
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