Author: Alan Stevens

MGC President Steps Down 18 years and 18 Holes Later

In December 2001 Dr Max Whitten found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Consequently, the retired scientist and former hockey player was elected as President of the newly formed and aspirational Maleny Golf Club which had no land on which to build its dream golf course.

Fast forward to December 2019 – four years after the first 9 Holes were built – and one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in South-East Queensland will be completed and open for business.  Dr Whitten said the course covers around 25 per cent of the Maleny Community Precinct – the rest being devoted to other sports, effluent disposal, heritage, walking paths, rainforest and wetlands.

“Superintendent Mick McCombe has worked miracles with volunteers and contractors to oversee the transformation of dairy pastures and some dense weedy patches into a quality course. In the process he won two national and one state award for excellence.” Dr Whitten said.

In November 2015, Max was announced as the winner of the annual Sports Volunteer of the Year award at the Queensland Sports Federation’s 21st Sports Awards & Hall of Fame Presentation at a gala black-tie dinner in Brisbane.

After almost two decades at the helm and with the mission finally accomplished, Max decided the time was right at the recent AGM to stand down, but serve for one more year as deputy to the club’s newly elected President Jeff Kruse to facilitate a seamless transition.

The quality course, serviced by a top-drawer maintenance facility, was largely constructed by volunteers supported by local contractors, Bernie Porter and David Lowden, together with strategic input from professional golf course shapers. In fact Max won the Queensland Government’s 2016 Sports Volunteer Award in recognition of the volunteer engagement.

Dr Whitten said the course covers around 25 per cent of the Maleny Community Precinct – the rest being devoted to other sports, effluent disposal, heritage, walking paths, rainforest and wetlands.

“After extensive community consultation over the precinct, construction started in 2014 with a total budget of around $1.6 million,” Dr Whitten said.

“Superintendent Mick McCombe has worked miracles with volunteers and contractors to oversee the transformation of dairy pastures and some dense weedy patches into a quality course. In the process he won two national and one state award for excellence.”

Businessman and former chartered accountant, David Killeen as the club’s treasurer during the club’s growth period, led a team developing our office and governance systems, ensuring that we stayed out of debt during the construction phase.

“The young club is now well placed to generate sufficient revenue from members and visitors to meet the operating expenses for maintaining a quality course,” Dr Whitten said.

“Former journalist and business editor of The Courier-Mail, Richard Owen, served as the club’s first golf shop manager from June 2015 to October 2017 with a remit to establish and raise the new club’s public profile by generating regular news stories in the local media and golfing magazines.

“Last December, the club recruited former tour golfer and PGA Professional, Wayne Perske as the Club’s pro to continue this work in putting the club on Queensland’s golfing map, developing its profile and attracting visitors.”

Golf Australia largely agrees with Max in recognising that the future of golf lies in quality community golf courses located in regions with mild climates, abundant water supply and proximity to urban areas free from the severe land-use pressures being experienced in our larger cities.

Maleny scores well on all these criteria. Max and his wife, Dr Penny Edwards, worked closely towards creating this great vision and now look forward to a tad more free time for other pursuits.

MGC Closed for Green Renovation Mon 16th – Tue 17th Sept 2019

The final shaping of the six new greens was completed over the weekend by GolfSpectrum, and they look magnificent albeit challenging. They are ready for turfing and the existing 12 greens are scheduled for renovation. The resulting tifdwarf stolons will then be spread onto the new six greens by staff and an army of volunteers.

Sadly this means there is no golf on either Monday 16th or Tuesday 17th of September 2019 however, MGC will open as normal on Wednesday 18th and the course will be ready to play.

Course Update – all earthworks complete for final 6 holes

Work to extend our course to 18 holes is on track for early 2020 as planned. Course Superintendent, Mick McCombe, has worked with the course architect, Graham Papworth, the specialist golf course earth movers, our assistant green keepers and a large number of volunteers to draw all of the components together.
The status of the 6 new holes is:
1. fairways cleared and being mown as required
2. installed over 2 kms of irrigation to all greens and tees
3. completed shaping of the tees, greens, bunkers and the approaches to greens
4. installed drainage in all greens
5. completed one revetted bunker (at the 18th), 6 to go
6. built two rock retaining walls and two concrete paths (thanks Rob and Don for outstanding effort)
7. planted grass on almost all tees
8. prepared greens for planting with grass from renovating existing greens in mid September 2019
In early September, 2019 we will appeal to members for assistance in seeding the greens. Please also contact the club if you can help prepare matting for the revetted bunkers on Monday or Wednesday mornings.

Membership Specials – as at August 2019

Maleny Golf Club is offering a special three-year membership deal to all new members as it prepares to bring the final six holes of the award-winning Sunshine Coast hinterland course into play in early 2020.

Maleny Golf Club, which opened in 2015, is known for its welcoming country hospitality and still has significant growth capacity to accommodate new male, female and junior members interested in playing socially or competitively.

Anyone taking up the $2,244 offer will enjoy full Gold membership from the day they sign up until 31 October 2022 and avoid anticipated annual fee increases in the meantime.

President Dr Max Whitten said the offer represented both good value for money and an opportunity for members and newcomers to help the club fund mowing and maintenance fleet additions to service the expanded 18-hole course.

“We will be bringing the last six of our 18 holes into play early in the New Year and have committed to purchasing and leasing additional equipment so we can continue to deliver our high standard of course presentation,” Dr Whitten said.

The current 12-hole, par 46 course incorporates an environmentally low-impact design by Golf Architect Graham Papworth which preserves and integrates existing wetlands and native flora.

The completed 18-hole course will be comprised of two Par 5s, 10 Par 4s and 6 Par 3s presenting a Par 68 layout featuring unique revetted greenside bunkering, Tiffdwarf Bermuda Grass greens and Kikuyu fairways within a peaceful, scenic hinterland setting.

If you are interested in joining Maleny Golf Club please call the Golf Shop on 07 5499 9960 or email Club Manager Wayne Perske at pro@malenygolfclub.com.au.

Maleny develops innovative course safety device

Maleny Golf Club in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland has developed and installed a state-of-the art, high-tech warning system to enhance player safety on one of its holes featuring a blind tee shot.

Players on the Tee of the Par 4 dog-legged Fourth of the new 18-hole layout are now warned not to hit off while a red traffic light is shining on the fairway to signal that golfers in the group ahead have not yet cleared their landing zone.

President Dr Max Whitten said the warning system was further evidence of the club’s innovative style, following the successful trial and installation of revetted bunkering using artificial turf matting to cut course maintenance costs.

“This clever system uses the combination of a motion-sensing camera, solar power and a bright red light to solve a player safety issue and we now plan to extend it to similarly warn players about to tee off on the adjacent fairway,” he said.

Member and inventor Mike Hallam, who has a background in information technology and security, said he had come up with the idea by combining different technologies to solve the problem.

“We needed something more or less bullet proof and not reliant on user intervention like other things being considered such as ringing bells or pushing buzzer buttons,” Mike explained.

The prototype cost about $4,000 to develop – the main expense being the use of a sophisticated programmable Mobotix camera from Germany. However, the cost is more than competitive compared to erecting unsightly observation towers.

Members now refer to this area of the course as the “red light district”.

Thanks to financial support from the Sunshine Coast Council and the Federal Government, the final six holes of the 18-hole course should be in play early next year.

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