DRIVING FOR MORE: Maleny Golf Club will know soon whether they are clear to increase the Maleny Golf Course to 18 holes.
DRIVING FOR MORE: Maleny Golf Club will know soon whether they are clear to increase the Maleny Golf Course to 18 holes.

Could this be the Coast’s toughest golf hole?

A SLICE looks dicey and you could be cooked if you hook.

A proposed par-five second hole at a revamped Maleny Golf Course could become one of the toughest on the Coast if the Sunshine Coast Council approves the expansion of the course from nine holes to 18 at Thursday's ordinary council meeting.

 

MASTER PLAN: The plans for the full, 18-hole Maleny Golf Course. Hole 2 looks a challenge.
MASTER PLAN: The plans for the full, 18-hole Maleny Golf Course. Hole 2 looks a challenge. Contributed

For a right-hander, slicing it off the tee might see you among the horse riders in the neighbouring sport and recreation zone, while a bad hook will leave you lost in the Southern Wetlands.

The Maleny Golf Club was confident of gaining the council's approval for the expansion plans, hopeful the business case put forward was strong enough and also confident the wetlands would still be protected.

 

SCN300615GOLFCOURSE
Caption: Mayor Mark Jamieson tees off to open the new Maleny Golf Course.
PRISTINE: The Maleny Golf Course in mint condition at its opening.

Council officers have recommended approval providing no fairway was constructed within the hit-through zone, although that zone could accommodate a green for the second hole and a tee for the third hole.

Maleny Golf Club treasurer David Killeen said he thought the business case prepared by the club was "really good" and said he couldn't see any reason why council wouldn't approve the plans.

He was also confident in the design of the second hole proposal, saying an 'out of bounds' designation similar to one in place on the existing ninth hole would protect the Southern Wetlands.

"We'll make it out of bounds," Mr Killeen said.

"It's the same situation (as the current ninth hole)... we just don't play golf in there."

Maleny District Green Hills Fund project director Ron Sharp is one of a number of volunteers working to restore the Southern Wetlands.

He said the group had a memorandum of understanding with the council to undertake the rejuvenation of the site.

Mr Sharp said his main concerns with the proposed expansion were the business case being kept confidential, any restriction of community use or enjoyment of the wetlands and the sport and recreation area and the safety of any nearby equestrian users.

 

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has the first hit out after officially opening the Maleny golf course. Photo Jessica McKenzie / Range News
AWAY: Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has the first hit out after officially opening the Maleny golf course. Jessica Mckenzie

Having planted 20,000 trees over the past three years on the site, Mr Sharp said he feared the hit-through zone and fairway position could lead to players trampling through the wetlands, damaging plants in search of wayward golf balls.

"It's going to make rejuvenation of the site difficult," he said.

He said the proximity to the sport and recreation area which he said was frequented by horse riders made the proposal seem "totally unsafe" in his view.

Mr Sharp also questioned why the business plan had been made commercial in confidence when it was public money via council dollars that would be considered in future budgets to be spent on the course.

The proposed plans include public access to the wetlands between the second green and third tee.

Mr Killeen said the confidentiality of the business case was "purely council process" and understood it had been made confidential because the business case contained "a lot of information pertinent to the golf club" and its membership.

He said the hit-through zone was not cutting into the wetlands and said the possibility of fencing between the golf course and the sport and recreation zone was something that could be explored further down the track.

 

Crowds at the opening of the Maleny golf course.  Photo Contributed
GATHERED: Crowds at the opening of the Maleny golf course. Contributed

Mr Killeen said if successful, the development of the expansion would be a "staged process" with three holes at a time rolled out over the proposed 15ha expansion zone which would be leased to the golf club until 2023.

If council officers' recommendations are followed in Thursday's meeting, funding from the 2016-17 council budget would be explored in a future report.