State borders may still be closed but Sanctuary Cove will this week reopen its facility to the public in another sign life is slowly returning to normal.
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill and forced the majority of Australian golf clubs to close their doors even temporarily, Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club management devised a way to provide their members with an outlet while in lockdown.
The decision was made to make both The Pines and The Palms golf courses – currently ranked No.44 and No.71 in the country respectively by Australian Golf Digest magazine – purely members only.
Health and safety protocols were put in place to ensure members were protected as best as possible and maintenance procedures continued at their normal operation to deliver a playing experience that few facilities in Australia can match.
Although they have been kept on the outside looking in for the past three months, social golfers can now return to play The Palms course from this Thursday where they will find the 2011 Ross Watson redesign at its pristine best.
“If I was a member of the public, I’d be taking advantage of playing The Palms this week for sure,” says Sanctuary Cove Executive General Manager and PGA Professional Paul Sanders.
“It’s in outstanding condition, the best I’ve seen it in eight years. Full credit to Course Superintendent Paul McLean and his team. The way they have got this golf course to mature over the past eight or nine years has it at its absolute peak.
“The TifEagle greens are absolutely amazing.
“Anyone that plays there during this period is going to have a great experience.”
Spoiled by having unfettered access to both golf courses since mid-March, membership numbers at Sanctuary Cove have never been stronger.
The club reported a June intake the likes of which they have not witnessed in many years and Club President Mick McDonald last week unveiled a sculpture of Arnold Palmer by acclaimed artist Liam Hardy that now welcomes golfers to the first tee on The Pines.
As golf has proven attractive to people unable to participate in other activities during restrictions, Sanders, the management team and board have ensured that it has never been a better time to be a member at Sanctuary Cove.
“Word is out that it’s members only here,” Sanders says of the surge of interest in membership.
“The golf courses are both in outstanding condition and we’re investing heavily into our facilities including a $1.8 million irrigation project at The Pines. We’re very fortunate that through a really strong strategic plan that we’ve had in place for the past 60 months that we’ve been able to do that.
“What’s been great about the decision of the board to make it members only during this COVID-19 period is that it has really given the opportunity to members to make full use of the facilities.
“Whether that’s practise, competition play, social play, it’s a great opportunity for members to not only play The Pines but play The Palms whenever they like.
“The members have really respected that the board have made it members only during this period and we’re having 300-plus players every day of the week.
“If you’re coming into the club at the moment, you have wonderful facilities that you can call your own.”