Bowling club’s mini revival

ORANGE City Bowling Club has leased out two unused greens to establish an 18-hole mini golf course in a bid to ease some of the financial pressure on the club after it posted a $238,000 loss.

Developer Andrew Bailey hopes to have the golf range open in time for Christmas and believes the venture will help generate customers for the club.

“It’s a good thing for everyone,” he said.

“The new board members are very proactive in changing the image of the club.”

At the club’s recent annual general meeting all but two of the committee was voted out after the significant loss was revealed. 

The club finished the previous financial year $23,000 in the black.

The mini golf course will have a Japanese forest theme and will be the first stage of Mr Bailey’s $111,000 development to transform the unused greens on top of the club’s car park.

“We estimate a minimum of 10,000 people [to play] per year,” he said.

“No-one ever dreams of opening a mini golf course. I know the builder who builds them and I was looking for an investment.”

Mr Bailey said the business will operate independently of the club and golfers won’t need to be members to play.

“It’s a positive thing for the club, we’ll generate a lot of  through traffic for them,” he said.

Mr Bailey has grand plans for the business hoping to establish competition mini golf and eventually an Australian mini golf championship in conjunction with Mini Golf Australia’s Brian Dee.

He expects it to be the only course in the area with Dubbo and Mudgee the only other towns in the central west with mini golf.

“It’s one of the longer courses out there,” he said.

“Five  to 99 is the age group ... it’s the only sport teenagers feel comfortable playing with their parents.”

The second green will be converted into 12 netted golf driving ranges in 12 months’ time.

The green has remained unused due to a drop in patronage and membership at the club, according to a council report. 

The club will not be required to establish more parking at the site with council estimating patron numbers will stay the same.

Orange City Bowling Club acting secretary manager Neil Southcombe said the golf course and driving range was a private venture. Orange Mini Golf will operate seven days a week and has approval to open from 10am to 10pm.

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