One of the biggest pieces of green space in Sydney’s inner west is caught in an “aggressive” fight, in which the community has been asked to decide its fate.
Marrickville Golf Club’s future is under a cloud, as a powerful lobby of locals fight to turn half of its 80-year-old greens into parkland.
The Inner West Council has taken the debate to the residents, asking them to vote on what the next 10 years at the public golf course will look like.
If the club loses, its course will be cut in half to make room for a sporting field, picnic areas, playgrounds, pathways, a lookout and new vegetation.
If that happens, club president Eddie Lakiss has a dire warning.
“We shut, full stop,” he said.
“We won’t survive, people don’t want to play a nine-hole course twice … in fact a lot of nine-hole clubs are shutting.”
The Marrickville Golf Club, which borders the Cooks River, opened in 1940.
While its greens are already shared between golfers, walkers and environmental volunteers, the Cooks River Valley Association (CRVA) claims the club is hostile.
“There is no demonstration that they welcome the community at all … they think people walking through is enough community engagement,” said CRVA member Peter Munro.
“In fact they have even opposed signs that encourage people to walk in.”
Recreational users of the second biggest open space in the inner west also face the obvious risk of golf balls in flight, which would be minimised with fences if the course is halved.
The CRVA says it is not on a mission to bring about the club’s demise, but is rather fighting to ensure the next 10 years brings some improvement to the site.
Some residents campaigning for a nine-hole course have argued the sport of golf is dying, male-dominated and membership is dropping, but the club disagrees.
“That’s a fallacy, our membership has remained steady for the last 10 years,” Mr Lakiss said.
“They want more playing fields, give me a break … what am I going say to my full-time employees?”
The battle to keep the greens is a familiar one for Mr Lakiss, who had to defend the club against the same threat in 2012.
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