Woolgoolga RSL Golf Club captain, Don Penson, at the Safety Beach course where the official opening of the new 18-hole facility
Woolgoolga RSL Golf Club captain, Don Penson, at the Safety Beach course where the official opening of the new 18-hole facility

Project completed after 20 years

By GREG WHITE

WOOLGOOLGA Golf Club at Safety Beach finally opened their 18th hole on Sunday after one of the longest and most unique building programs anywhere.

The club's had a chequered history including a multitude of names since construction began more than 20 years ago.

Vice captain Les Simpson points out 'Seven Lakes' was the most common name, but others were used, a few uncomplimentary.

"Becoming a subsidiary of the RSL club in late 1997 turned the corner for us," Simpson said.

"We finally had strength.

"It gave us the community stability and financial backing to finish the course."

Simpson agreed while progress was slow, each time a new hole opened the celebrations made up for it.

"Being patient has paid off," he said.

"At this stage we can finally say we are a work in progress that's ready for a new evolution."

The job is now to beautify the grounds and right on cue, Woolgoolga RSL have come to the party, assisting with the purchase of a fairway mower.

Club captain Don Penson revealed talented professionals had contributed in a way even the finest resorts would envy.

"The design was Steve Geyson's idea," he said.

"He started with a backhoe and his imagination."

Geyson was the architect and builder of the Mirage Resort for Christopher Skase.

"Steve was one of the few blokes Skase paid before he bolted," Penson joked.

Norm Carr also works on the course when he can spare the time.

"He's the bloke who built Riverside Oaks."

"Lately he's been working in Dubai and building courses all over the Persian Gulf."

As work continues the club will determine the urgency of each priority.

"We aim to redesign the 10th by levelling the fairway," Penson said.

"There's work to be done on the 11th to take out the triple tee."

A quirk of nature has left lumps in the first fairway that will require removal at some date.

"When work began they buried trees to fill a depression instead of carting them away," Penson said.

"Now they're beginning to poke their way to the surface."

To celebrate Sunday's opening extravaganza, a record 156 golfers played their way through.

Rather than schedule a 'classic' event the committee stuck solid with an old favourite.

"We ran a four person ambrose," Les Simpson chimed in.

"It was something that suits the style of our place."



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