Nelson Bay looks to play on despite fire

NELSON Bay Golf Club is expected to cancel all major events for the forseeable future  but hope to have the course open for play next week.

Fire gutted the clubhouse on Sunday morning and assessors surveyed the charred building on Monday to ascertain whether the site will need to be completely bulldozed.

Nelson Bay was scheduled to host a $12,000 pro-am on October 2, but club president Max Pride said it would almost certainly be cancelled.

Round five of the Newcastle district B and C grade pennants will also be transferred to another venue.

The same fate is likely for the annual Westpac Helicopter fundraiser, the Angel Billy Golf Classic, in November.

‘‘There’s no way in the world that we can hold any internal events here for a while,’’ Pride said.

‘‘It’s going to be 12 months minimum I think.’’

The course is closed for golf this week, but Pride said plans were under way to install demountables to serve as an interim pro-shop and clubhouse.

‘‘We hope to operate from demountables, the pro-shop, admin and even a bit of bar service,’’ he said.

‘‘If we can do that and get power and plumbing sorted out, we may be golfing next week.’’

Pacific Dunes at Medowie and Horizons at Salamander Bay have volunteered to cater for Nelson Bay members at their usual green fee rates while their 54-hole course is closed.

Once the course is reopened the first tee may be relocated due to its close proximity to the burnt clubhouse.

Newcastle District Golf Association president Mick Dodd and Australasian PGA tournament co-ordinator Darren Baynes have both offered assistance to the Port Stephens club.

‘‘I’m not sure what is needed at this stage, but whatever we can give them, we’ll certainly help them out as much as we can,’’ Dodd said.

Baynes said the Nelson Bay Pro-Am could not be transferred to another course, but he would investigate holding a possible fundraiser with professionals at the venue on the original date. 

Victorian US Tour cardholder Ashley Hall is one of several overseas-based professionals who had entered the doomed Nelson Bay Pro-Am on October 2.

Hall, who finished a career-high 27th on the money list in 2013, is also confirmed for the Merewether (September 29) and Waratah (October 3) pro-ams.

Newcastle’s professionals Nick Flanagan and James Nitties were also a strong chance to compete in Nelson Bay.

Following unsuccessful Tour campaigns Flanagan and Nitties are expected to play several Hunter and Central Coast pro-ams.

Toronto’s former US PGA cardholder, Nathan Green, has entered five the Hunter pro-ams at Morisset, Maitland, Merewether, Waratah and Muree.

 ■   Newcastle District Golf Association president Mick Dodd is hopeful the reduction from 54 holes to 36 will ensure the Lakes Macquarie Seniors goes ahead next month.

Last season the tournament received just 22 entries and was cancelled.

Entries are open for the two-day event, which will be held at Charlestown and Toronto on October 12 and 13.


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