HORSHAM Golf Club president Leo Delahunty said he was grateful for the community’s support after the club met its fundraising target.
After a decade of setbacks, the club recently called on the community to help raise $300,000 to avoid the potential of going into administration.
Mr Delahunty said board members held a meeting on Sunday night to discuss the club’s future.
“We’re so grateful to the members and the wider Horsham and district community for pledging this money for the club,” he said.
“It’s been a fantastic response. We don’t know the exact amount just yet, but we will once we’ve confirmed all the pledges.”
He said the club’s next step would be to look into its operational processes.
“We will be looking at the operational profit and losses and how to address the issues around restructuring our balance sheet,” he said.
“There will be a few challenges over the next few weeks.”
The club has also seen a surge in membership numbers over the last week.
“At the end of June we were down to about 444 members. We are now at more than 500 members,” he said.
HORSHAM Golf Club has been an iconic asset to the Wimmera since it was established in 1898.
Since that time, the club has gained a reputation for having one of the country’s best golf courses.
Club life member Bob Hayes has been a member for 30 years. He said his family had been involved with the club since the 1950s.
“My mother Phyl Hayes was a champion golfer back in the day. My passion came after football, but my parents were always involved,” he said.
He said the Horsham community was lucky to have such a high standard golf course in its backyard.
“It’s unique in the fact that it’s built on a sandbelt – if you want a bunker, you just dig a hole. The amazing transformation that went on over the years just meant it had an ambiance about it. It was a great place to be,” he said.
Mr Hayes said the impacts of the Black Saturday bushfires greatly affected the club’s members.
“They were devastated. There were actually people in tears on the day. Afterwards it was horrific to see the destruction that had occurred. The members were just devastated to think that their beautiful piece of country had been erased by fire, which no-one ever thought was possible,” he said.
He said he hoped the community would continue to support the club.
“The town needs a golf course. I’m hopeful that the community will see the benefits that it brings to the town – and it does bring a lot of benefits. This is the first time we have really gone to the community and said we need their help,” he said.
Horsham Golf Club general manager Paul Riley said golf clubs were vital assets to regional communities.
“Every town, in every corner of the globe needs a golf course – it’s the biggest played sport in the world,” he said.
“Most towns have a golf course which might be just okay. The thing is that in Horsham we don’t just have an okay golf course; we have a world-class golf course. Sometimes when it’s on your doorstep, you take it for granted.
“At the end of the day, this is one of the top 100 golf courses in Australia, and probably top 20 rural golf courses in the country.
“The community might also not realise that there are more than 1600 golf courses in Australia, so we’re in the top 10 per cent. It’s humbling that the community has got behind the campaign.”
He said he was looking forward to seeing what the future had in store for the club.
“We’re working towards reducing our debt with the foresight of eventually, year-on-year-out, making a surplus. Growing our membership base and more activities is all part of that,” he said.
If you wish to donate to the Horsham Golf Club’s fundraising campaign, you can contact the administrator on 5382 1615.