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.

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.

Council conducted community consultation to develop a vision and plan for shared use of the site in 2021, which resulted in more than 7,000 community views being submitted 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.

Funding for the first stage of the project to reconfigure the golf course to allow shared use of the site has been confirmed in Darebin’s 2022/23 budget.

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 opened the way for 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 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.

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.

Read the Council Resolutions in full:

Darebin Council Meeting minutes - 25 October 2021

Darebin Council Meeting minutes - 23 May 2022

Darebin Council Meeting minutes - 25 July 2022

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

Following Council’s decision in May 2022, we’re working to facilitate shared use of the golf course site, with works including:

Works Schedule Status

Audit of existing buildings and boundary fencing

July – November 2022


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

November – January


Opening of new open space areas

January 2023


Decommission of the original fifth hole

January 2023


Cultural Heritage Management Plan investigations

February 2023 start

In progress

Construction of new 5th tee box and green

January – March 2023


Remediation works to enable safe shared use

January 2023 start

In progress

Concept design for new eastern path

April-July 2023

Concept design for new Northern Park


Consultation with affected properties regarding concept design for eastern path

May-June 2023

Detailed design for new Eastern path


Targeted tree planting and vegetation improvements

July – September 2023

Golf course – current status

Northcote golf course with the Our Lady of Lebanon Church spire in the background

(Image: fourth green looking west towards Merri Creek.)

Fifth hole

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

A new fifth tee and green are now open for use.

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

Map of the Northcote golf course

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

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.

Additional tree planting

We’re undertaking a significant tree planting program to improve amenity and safety, as well as supporting native habitat through the addition of creekside vegetation.

Open space – current status

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 Council’s 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. Council’s 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 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.

Northcote Golf Course's new configuration

Eastern Path Design

In April—July 2023 we will prepare a draft concept design of the eastern path from Mayer Park through to Warrk-Warrk bridge. The eastern path is close to a number of residential properties, and we will invite these residents to provide feedback on the proposed concept design.

All feedback will be considered and, where appropriate, incorporated into the final detailed design.

We will consider further investment into the space (construction of the eastern path, construction of northern park, any construction of green improvements and the introduction of other assets) when we prepare the 2023/24 budget.

Frequently asked questions

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

What has been included in the 2022/23 budget for the redevelopment of the golf course?

'Option A' has been funded as recommended at the Council meeting on 23 May 2022. Council has made a funding application of $200,000 to SRV (Sports Recreation Victoria) to assist with funding of the design aspects of the reconfiguration of the golf course. The status of the grant will be confirmed in February 2023.

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

In preparing the new open space area to open to the public on 1 January 2023, our immediate priority has been ensuring the safety of golf course users and visitors to the new open space area.

In the coming months, we will continue to identify areas for park furniture such as seats and drinking fountains, for delivery in the next financial year.

Some minor asset installation, such as seating, is planned for the southern park.

What is the purpose of the new fence you have put up?

The new fence around the top of the sixth hole creates a boundary between the new open space area 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. Once the Eastern Path alignment has been confirmed, more permanent demarcation will be provided (fencing, planting, garden beds etc).

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 including path alignment, 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 and before further works commence.

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

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

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

A Cultural Heritage Management Plan is being prepared and will be finalized before any further works commencing.

Who are the new operators of the golf course and are they involved in this project?

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. 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 aims 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. We're working in collaboration with Clublinks to deliver the project.

Are any trees being removed as part of the redevelopment?

No tree removals are proposed at this early concept stage.

Several trees along the potential path alignment were marked by a consulting arborist on 15 March 2023 as part of work to prepare a concept plan for the eastern path. No trees were identified for removal as part of this work. The path alignment will be designed to create the least impact and disturbance to any existing vegetation onsite. Soil sampling and geo-tech investigations will be completed well away from any trees to further reduce disturbance to existing trees.