Gracemere Lake course director Bruce Maclean says the proposed hike in lease charges will hurt the club.
Gracemere Lake course director Bruce Maclean says the proposed hike in lease charges will hurt the club. Allan Reinikka

$1200 lease could hurt golf club

FOR the past two decades Gracemere Lake Golf Club has paid $1 a week to lease its nine-hole course.

It costs the club less each year in council fees than it does for a player to have a single round at some of the region's best known courses.

But a proposal by Rockhampton Regional Council to put the lease up to $1200 a year, in line with the charges it levies on other clubs, has the Gracemere members heading for the bunkers.

On the seventh green yesterday afternoon, course director Bruce Maclean said if the council's money-grab went ahead it would hurt the club's membership and divert resources from improvements to the course.

“What they are asking for is an increase of 2800%, but we get absolutely nothing back. We need every dollar we can get to improve the place and continue to provide an important amenity for the people of Gracemere.

“We do everything ourselves, including all the mowing and maintenance.”

Earlier this week the club sent a delegation to Rockhampton Town Hall to plead its case.

John Wastell told councillors there were about 150 members who each paid $345 a year. “Most of the members are pensioners who are struggling to afford those charges now, and if there is an increase we have to pass on we will lose members and volunteers,” he said.

The club's playing charges – $1 a hole for non-members – are the cheapest in the region.

Volunteers run the clubhouse and maintain the course.

Councillors were told by officers that the proposed increase was to introduce a level of consistency throughout the council area.

Mayor Brad Carter said it was simply unfair to charge different clubs such vastly differing amounts.

But he said he would be happy to consider providing subsidies for up to three years to soften the blow.



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