Northcote Public Golf Course

After community consultation, Northcote Golf Course now has a nine-hole public golf course and more than five hectares of open space to enjoy.

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We have now completed design and due diligence works funded through a $200,000 Sport and Recreation Victoria grant and is reporting back on this at the November meeting.

The design works have identified possible future improvements to the site including a new path, a redesign of the golf course, building improvements and the addition of a range of new park assets. Delivery of all potential design elements is now subject to future budget development processes. Ahead of any works, community consultation with local residents and stakeholders will be undertaken in relation to each project.

The design work completed provides a strong foundation for advocacy to seek external funding to consider bringing forward improvements.

The due diligence work has confirmed that the golf course and new open space areas are functional and safe.

Since the new arrangements have been in place Golf Course usage has increased and customer satisfaction has been high.

Golf rounds for the first quarter 2023 were 27% above the same time last year (7,468 more rounds).

Additionally, data collected from the Northcote Golf Course operators (Clublinks) suggest that 98% of respondents are either satisfied or highly satisfied with the current Northcote Golf Course.

What's happened so far?

Shared use considered for the Northcote Golf Course

The Northcote Public Golf Course site is on approximately 25 hectares of Council land next to the Merri Creek, Mayer Park and Normanby Avenue. During COVID-19 lockdowns, the site became a popular location for the wider community to use for walking and picnicking.

Community feedback regarding the future shared use of Northcote Golf Course was sought following a Council Resolution at the 25 October Council Meeting.

The Community Consultation process informed the development of a vision and plan for shared use of the site. It was subject to social distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was delivered completely online. Over 7,000 submissions in a community survey. Read the full engagement report.

Responding to this engagement at its meeting on Monday 23 May 2022, Council endorsed the site continuing to operate as a nine-hole golf course, while also setting aside 5.72 hectares of the site as dedicated open space for the wider community to enjoy.

At this meeting its on Monday 23 May 2022, Council also called for a briefing on the terms and conditions of a new golf course management contract for the course, including options that might activate the course for golf prior to 3pm, with non-golf options after 3pm. Following this briefing, at a Council meeting on Monday 25 July 2022, it was resolved that the 3pm finish option would not be investigated further.
This enabled Council to advertise for a public tender for operation of the Northcote Public Golf Course.

Clublinks Management Pty Ltd was awarded the new management contract for the Northcote Public Golf Course at a Special Council Meeting held on Monday 14 November 2022.

The contract aims to deliver programs and activities that maximise community participation and activate space at the Northcote Public Golf Course for use by the whole community – including golf and non-golf pastimes.

Read the Council Resolutions in full below:

New arrangements in place

On 1 January 2023 the new dedicated open space opened, and golf course became fully operational. The new contract also commenced on 1 January 2023, and will run for a 3.5 year period, with an option for a further two year extension.

Since the new arrangements have been in place Golf Course usage has increased and customer satisfaction has been high. Golf rounds for the first quarter 2023 were 27% above the same time last year (7,468 more rounds).

Additionally, data collected from the Northcote Golf Course operators (Clublinks) suggest that 98% of respondents are either satisfied or highly satisfied with the current Northcote Golf Course.

Acceptance of Sport and Recreation Victoria Grant

At the Council Meeting on the 27 March 2023, Council resolved to accept a Sport and Recreation Victoria grant of $200,000 for concept design works of golf and non-golf improvements at the site. The resolution was slightly amended at the 24 April 2023 Council Meeting.

This work was be undertaken in 2023 and included:

  • Design for the masterplan and concept plan for the Northcote Public Golf Course
  • Concept design and due diligence of new eastern pedestrian and cycling pathway, from Warrk-Warrk Bridge to Normanby Avenue
  • Concept design and due diligence of new northern park adjacent to Mayer Park
  • Concept design and due diligence of improvements to the golf clubrooms to support community use.

Read the Council Resolution and subsequent Notice of Motion in full below:

Due diligence and high-level design work completed

The design and due diligence works funded through the grant were completed and reported back to Council.

The design works have identified possible future improvements to the site including a new path, a redesign of the golf course, building improvements and the addition of a range of new park assets. Delivery of all potential design elements is now subject to future budget development processes. Ahead of any works, community consultation with local residents and stakeholders will be undertaken in relation to each project.

At the 27 November Council Meeting, Council resolved to endorse the designs and concept plans for the purposes of long-term planning, budgeting, advocacy or grant applications, and noting that ahead of any works, community consultation with local residents and stakeholders will be undertaken for each project. This includes:

  1. Northcote Public Golf Course draft masterplan to enhance the layout of the existing nine-hole course.
  2. Designs of a new eastern pedestrian and cycling pathway (from Warrk-Warrk Bridge to Normanby Avenue).
  3. Designs for a new Northern Park adjacent to Mayer Park.
  4. Designs for improvements/modifications to the existing golf course clubrooms and Pro shop to further support community use.

The design work completed provides a strong foundation for advocacy to seek external funding to consider bringing forward improvements.

The due diligence work has confirmed the golf course and new open space areas are functional and safe.

Read the Council Meeting minutes in full below:

Plans and timelines for the redevelopment of the golf course and new open space

Following Council’s decision in May 2022, works to facilitate shared use of the golf course include:

Works Schedule Status

Audit of existing buildings and boundary fencing

July—November 2022

Completed

Creation and demarcation of new boundaries between open space areas and golf course

November—January

Completed

Opening of new open space area

January 2023

Completed

Decommission of the original fifth hole

January 2023

Completed

Cultural Heritage Management Plan investigations (due diligence assessment)

February 2023

Completed

Construction of new 5th tee box and green

January—March 2023

Completed

Remediation works to enable safe shared-use

January 2023

Ongoing commitment

Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) grant accepted by Council

27 March 2023

Completed

Design for the masterplan and concept plan for the Northcote Public Golf Course

July—November 2023

Completed

Concept design and due diligence of new eastern pedestrian and cycling pathway, from Warrk-Warrk Bridge to Normanby Avenue

July 2023

Completed

Concept design and due diligence of new northern park adjacent to Mayer Park

August 2023

Completed
Concept design and due diligence of improvements to the golf clubrooms to support community use July – November 2023 Completed

Council Meeting to endorse design works and due diligence reports

Late 2023

Completed
Community consultation of draft concept design Subject to funding Not started

Golf course – current status

At the council meeting on Monday 23 May 2022, Council endorsed the site continuing to operate as a nine - hole golf course, while also setting aside 5.72 hectares of the site as dedicated open space for the wider community to enjoy.

A map of the golf course

A map of the golf course

What's happening with the 5th hole?

The original fifth hole was decommissioned on 1 January 2023, as part of the endorsed plan.

A new fifth tee and green were constructed in March 2023 and are now in play, functioning well, and safe.

The new fifth hole is located at the top of the old seventh dogleg, reactivating part of the old fairway.

While this green is smaller than some others we have no plans for further enhancement to this hole at present - this will be considered as per the masterplan recommendations.

Delivery is subject to funding availability and is expected to occur in a staged process over time. Each enhancement and improvement element has different levels of priority and cost - benefit when assessed on need and benefits. Priorities will be assessed and considered by Council through the Annual Budget process.

Bell system

The eighth hole has been reconfigured to ensure a safe walking path within the new open space. As a result, the hole has been shortened by 30m.

Due to this shortening, there is an increased likelihood of golf balls landing over the crest within the eighth fairway, in an area that is not visible to golfers who are at the tee.

Warning bell system on 8th hole

Warning bell system on 8th hole

To help with these changes, a bell system will be implemented, which is common practice on many Victorian golf courses.

Players will simply ring a bell located halfway down the eighth fairway to indicate they are well clear of the likely landing zone of tee shots from the group following behind.

What's happening with the open space?

An area of 5.72 hectares of the site has been set aside as dedicated open space area for the community to enjoy, running along the eastern and southern areas of the site.

Community safety remains our highest priority for both golf users and park patrons alike. A comprehensive risk management analysis informed the current layout decisions and construction plan before any changes were made to the existing layout of the site.

New boundaries between the open space and the golf course were created using a combination of signage, fences and soft landscaping to ensure the safety of golf course users and visitors to the new open space area.

To ensure the safety of all users, please adhere to all signage indicating areas that are open space for the whole community to enjoy, and areas that are designated for golf only.

The new open space areas, including the eastern path are dog on - lead areas. To protect the safety of all patrons and to protect the environment, please adhere to all ‘on - lead’ signage. Our Local Laws officers regularly patrol the area and infringements may be issued to anyone identified to be in breach of the ‘on - lead’ rule.

Off - lead activity is permitted at Mayer Park only.

Please refer to the map below to see the new layout, entrance points and boundaries between the open space area and golf course. This map is also on display at the new open space area for visitors to refer to.

Concept Master Plan Design of golf and non-golf improvements

At the Council Meeting on the 27 March 2023, Council resolved to accept the SRV grant of $200,000 for concept design works of golf and non-golf improvements. $30,000 was allocated for the master/ concept design plan. Council has now begun a procurement process to appoint a suitably qualified golf course architect.

A Council report will be prepared and tabled for consideration at a Council Meeting in late 2023.

Open space – current status

An area of 5.72 hectares of the site has been set aside for a dedicated open space area for the community to enjoy, running along the eastern and southern areas of the site.

Community safety remains our highest priority for both golf users and park patrons alike. A comprehensive risk management analysis informed the current layout decisions and construction plan before any changes were made to the existing layout of the site.

New boundaries between the open space and the golf course were created using a combination of signage, fences and soft landscaping to ensure the safety of golf course users and visitors to the new open space area.

To ensure the safety of all users, please adhere to all signage indicating areas that are open space for the whole community to enjoy, and areas that are designated for golf only.

Please note, the new open space areas, including the eastern path are dog on-lead areas. To protect the safety of all patrons and to protect the environment, please adhere to all ‘on-lead’ signage. Our Local Laws officers regularly patrol the area and infringements may be issued to anyone identified to be in breach of the ‘on-lead’ rule.

Off-lead activity is permitted at Mayer Park only.

Please refer to the map below to see the new layout, entrance points and boundaries between the open space area and golf course. This map is also on display at the new open space area for visitors to refer to.

New layout for Northcote Golf Course

What has Darebin done to ensure people don't use the old fifth hole and to ensure the safety of patrons using the new open space?

Community safety is our priority and a range of measures are currently in place to ensure all patrons are aware of the recent changes. These include:

  • Clear and prominent signage on the new fifth hole
  • Removal of old fifth tee box infrastructure (including the hole sign, sand bucket and retaining wall)
  • Flyer in Pro Shop
  • Players are being notified at the Pro Shop of the current changes and a flyer is attached to all scorecards outlining the new layout
  • Clubs were notified of layout change last year
  • Maps at all entry points for the public open space showing the new boundaries

Northcote Public Golf Course - Questions and Answers

What did Council endorse at the Council Meeting on 27 November 2023?

It was proposed that Council:

  1. Notes the design and due diligence works funded through the Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) grant have been completed.
  2. Endorses the designs and concept plans for the purposes of long-term planning, budgeting, advocacy or grant applications, and noting that ahead of any works, community consultation with local residents and stakeholders will be undertaken in relation to each project. This includes:
    • Northcote Public Golf Course draft masterplan to enhance the layout of the existing nine-hole course.
    • Designs of a new eastern pedestrian and cycling pathway (from Warrk-Warrk Bridge to Normanby Avenue).
    • Designs for a new Northern Park adjacent to Mayer Park.
    • Designs for improvements/modifications to the existing golf course clubrooms and Pro shop to further support community use.
  3. Notes that the cost of the activities funded through the grant were slightly lower cost than estimated and therefore, delegates the CEO (or delegate) to negotiate with SRV to consider utilising the remaining grant funding for other elements of the Northcote Public Golf Course Project.
  4. Notes the Business Activation Case for the Northcote Golf Course has been prepared.
  5. Please refer to the agenda for the Council Meeting on 27 November for full details of what is being proposed. 2023 Council Meeting Agendas and Minutes

What future work will be delivered?

Works to be implement for the Northcote Public Golf Course Project are subject to future funding availability. These include but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing the layout of the existing nine-hole course (including any upgrades for the 5th hole)
  • Delivery of new eastern pedestrian and cycling pathway (from Warrk-Warrk Bridge to Normanby Avenue).
  • Delivery of a new Northern Park adjacent to Mayer Park.
  • Modifications to the existing golf course clubrooms and Pro shop to further support community use.

When will future work be delivered?

Delivery is subject to funding availability and is expected to occur in a staged process over time. Each enhancement and improvement element has different levels of priority and cost-benefit when assessed on need and benefits. Priorities will be assessed and considered by Council through the Annual Budget process.

Council has planned to allocate $250,000 for improvements in 2024-25 in its 4-year capital works budget, which would allow it to start some implementation works.

The design work completed provides a strong foundation for advocacy to seek external funding to consider bringing forward improvements.

How much is delivery expected to cost?

The total cost to implement all recommendations outlined in the reports is currently estimated to be over $3,000,000.

Will more amenities in the open space area like bins and seating be added?

The provision of amenities such as bins and seating have been included in the designs and concept plans that were completed in November 2023. Delivery of all elements in the concept design plans are subject to funding availability. Priorities will be assessed and considered by Council annually through the Annual Budget process.

Some minor new park assets (such as bins or seats) are also expected to be assessed as a high priority for consideration of funding as part of Council’s annual parks improvement program

Has Council delivered on its commitments at the March and April 2023 and May 2022 Council Meetings?

Yes. Council endorsed an option (Option A) for golf to continue on-site with a full nine holes, while also setting aside 5.72 hectares of open space for the wider community to enjoy at the site. It also accepted a Sport & Recreation Victoria (SRV) grant to support design and due diligence works for the site, with a report on this to be presented to Council at its November 2023 meeting.

Are there possible privacy issues for the residents along the eastern side who back onto the path?

  • There are many properties across Darebin that abut parkland. We are currently working on concept designs for the path that will take the privacy of residents into consideration.
  • A number of options will be presented. These include path surface, screen planting and garden bed construction.
  • Council advised residents of the change by mail, and we will provide further updates once design works are completed before further works commence. Community consultation will occur before any works commence.

Are any trees being removed as part of the redevelopment?

  • All concept designs recommend changes which minimise the impact on trees and strive to preserve them where feasible.
  • Vegetative screening between neighbouring properties and the interface zones between the golf and open space areas is also a central consideration.
  • In alignment with the Darebin Tree Policy, it has been determined that should complete removal be necessary, an offset and replacement plan will be initiated into the Draft concept designs. Furthermore, additional landscaping and vegetation enhancements will extend well beyond the requirements for tree offsets.
  • It's important to note that all vegetation improvements will involve the use of indigenous species, as determined by the relevant Council units, thereby enhancing the current biodiversity and ecological value of the area.

Project History

What did Council decide at its meeting on 23 May 2022?

Council endorsed an option (Option A) for golf to continue on-site with a full nine holes, while also setting aside 5.72 hectares of open space for the wider community to enjoy at the site. It also resolved to submit a funding application to Sport & Recreation Victoria (SRV) to support design and due diligence works for the site.

New layout for Northcote Golf Course

This decision responded to more than 7,000 community views submitted via community survey during community engagement process on future use of the Northcote Public Golf Course in 2022.

What occurred after the 23 May Council Meeting?

In line with Council’s Resolution on 23 May, the following has occurred:

  • Decommissioning of the previous 5th hole of the golf course and recommissioning of a temporary green for the 5th hole while design works are underway.
  • Slight relocation of holes 2 tees for holes 5 and 8 to ensure shared-use patron safety.
  • Creation and demarcation of new boundaries between the open space and the golf course using a combination of signage, fences and landscaping.
  • The new dedicated open space area opened on 1 January 2023.
  • Submission of a funding application for $200,0000 to Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) to commence design and due diligence works for the site.
  • Completion of maintenance works, including slashing of grass and weeds, and tree management.

Completion of designs and concept plans for:

  • An audit of the existing buildings on the Northcote Golf Course site to find opportunities to better use the existing infrastructure for both golf and non-golf related activities.
  • Removal of a section of the Mayer Park fence and a section of the Beaconsfield Parade fence, along with the gates at Warrk-warrk Bridge, to accommodate shared use.

How was the $200,000 grant allocated?

The $200,000 grant from Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) was used to commence design and due diligence works for the Northcote Public Golf Course project. This includes:

  1. The Northcote Public Golf Course draft masterplan to enhance the layout of the existing nine-hole course ($30,000)
  2. Designs of a new eastern pedestrian and cycling pathway (from Warrk-Warrk Bridge to Normanby Avenue) ($70,000).
  3. Designs for a new Northern Park adjacent to Mayer Park ($90,000)
  4. Designs for improvements/modifications to the existing golf course clubrooms and Pro shop to further support community use ($10,000).

The cost of the activities funded through the grant were slightly lower in cost than estimated. If a Council Resolution is secured at the 27 November Council Meeting, the CEO (or delegate) will negotiate with SRV to consider using the remaining funding for other elements of the Northcote Public Golf Course Project.

Will the new eastern pedestrian and cycling path be funded as part of the 2023/24 budget?

No. There is $250,000 allocated to deliver works within the Northcote Public Golf Course and new open space in its 2024/25 Capital Works Program.

It is likely this will be spent on entrances, gates, and safety within the golf course and the new open space more broadly. No works to implement the design work funded by the SRV grant will be occur as funding has not been committed to or allocated to its delivery.

What did Council decide at its meeting on 27 March 2023?

At the Council Meeting on the 27 March 2023, Council resolved to accept a $200,000 grant from Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) and to commence design and due diligence works for the Northcote Public Golf Course project.

When was this work completed?

This work was completed in November 2023. The due diligence work has confirmed that both the golf course layout and new open space areas are functional and safe.

Community Engagement

When will the community be consulted on the designs and concept work?

It is proposed community engagement on the detailed design of elements occurs once funding has been confirmed through subsequent Annual Budget processes.

Should Council choose to implement any of the course improvements community and stakeholder engagement would occur prior to each of the delivery of each element.

What will the community be engaged on?

The scope of future community engagement is expected to seek feedback on the detailed design of:

  • The layout of the Northcote Public Golf Course.
  • The new eastern pedestrian and cycling pathway (from Warrk-Warrk Bridge to Normanby Avenue).
  • The Northern Park adjacent to Mayer Park.
  • Improvements/modifications to the existing golf course clubrooms

Specific details of the engagement will be developed once budget availability has been confirmed.

What conversations are you having with the Wurundjeri people about the course?

At its meeting on 25 October 2021, Council resolved that in parallel with community engagement, discussions with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation about any options relating to the future co-management of the site will take place.

We’re committed to having respectful conversations with the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung community about the Northcote Golf Course. These conversations are ongoing.

New open space

Can I access the new open space?

Yes. The new dedicated open space area opened to community on 1 January 2023.

Is it safe to use this space?

Yes. New boundaries between the open space and the golf course have been demarcated using a combination of signage, fences and landscaping.

Signage indicating areas that are for open space and areas that are reserved for golf only has also been delivered.

Using the golf course

What areas are available for the public to use, and what is restricted to golf?

5.72 hectares of the site has been set aside for a dedicated open space area for the community to enjoy, running along the eastern and southern areas of the site. The map below shows to the new layout and boundaries between the open space area and golf course.

This map is on display on signage at the new open space area for all visitors to refer to.

New layout for Northcote Golf Course

How is the new open space functioning?

Since the new arrangements have been in place Golf Course usage has increased and customer satisfaction has been high. Golf rounds for the first quarter 2023 were 27% above the same time last year (7468 more rounds). Additionally, data collected from the Northcote Golf Course operators (Clublinks) suggest that 98% of respondents are either satisfied or highly satisfied with the current Northcote Golf Course:

How were golfers notified of the new open space?

Council have been advised players were notified at the Pro Shop and via a flyer attached to all scorecards outlining the new layout.

When will the temporary green and hole be ready for use?

The original fifth hole was decommissioned on 1 January 2023, as part of the endorsed plan. A new fifth tee and green are now functioning, safe and open for use. It is located at the top of the old seventh dog-leg, reactivating part of the old fairway.

While this green is smaller than some others, Council hasn’t allocated any funding to make any further enhancement to this hole at present.

What is the purpose of the new fence along the eastern boundary of the golf course?

The new fence around the top of the sixth hole creates a boundary between the new park and existing golf course. It is designed to direct visitors from the new entrance at Beaconsfield Parade to the new southern park or continue along the shared trail section to the northern park.

Who are the new operators of the golf course?

Clublinks Management Pty. Ltd was awarded the new management contract for the Northcote Public Golf Course at a Special Council Meeting held on Monday 14 November. Clublinks also operates Darebin Council's Narrandjeri Stadium, Darebin Community Sports Stadium and Bundoora Park Public Golf Course.

The selection process was undertaken with guidance from an independent external probity advisor. The new contract is aimed to deliver programs and activities that maximise community participation and activation of space at the Northcote Public Golf Course for use by the whole community – including golf and non-golf pastimes.

When did the new management contract commence?

The previous golf course management contract expired on 31 December 2022. The new contract commenced on 1 January 2023, and will run for a 3.5 year period, with an option for a further two year extension.

What measures are in place to manage any potential encroachment of public onto the golf course (such as general public entering, litter)?

New boundaries between the open space and the golf course have been demarcated using a combination of signage, fences and landscaping. The boundary is intended to ensure the safety of golf course users and visitors to the new open space area.