After weeks of being hard hit by a COVID shutdown that cost it many thousands in lost revenue, Maldon Golf Club is now enjoying some light amid the gloom.
A $15,000 grant from the federal government’s Stronger Communities Program has helped the little local club complete a $32,000 clubhouse upgrade – including a swish new clubhouse entrance.
It’s a move that helps establish the 55-member volunteer-run club’s facility as an increasingly significant community hub for Maldon – not just for golfers but for all manner of community events, functions and forums.
It comes as the club reels from the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdowns earlier this year.
“Because we weren’t able to have any golf for eight weeks, we lost about $10,000 in golf fees and bar takings,” club secretary Bob Briggs said.
“But our biggest loss is in fundraising. We would have lost in excess of $26,000 in revenue.”
The COVID crisis has hit many regional sports clubs hard and Maldon Golf Club is a prime example – unable to get JobKeeper or JobSeeker support because it’s all volunteer run.
But now the clubhouse upgrade has filled the club with optimism.
The revamped entrance features a large new automatic sliding door and wheelchair-friendly ramp access. There’s also decking overlooking the scenic greens and a shade-sail sheltered upgraded outdoor area.
Fortunately the club’s books were in good order before the pandemic hit and with golfers now returned to the greens, club membership has also increased.
“We were able to resume limited golf about six weeks ago and it’s been buoyant,” Mr Briggs said.
“Our membership has increased by 10 per cent since we resumed playing golf.
“And now that we’ve got our new AV (audio visual) system in it allows different groups to use it.”
Visiting late last week to check out the upgrade, Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said it was a great example of a sorely-needed stimulus project.
“It’s a great time to be doing work,” she said.
“It’s come up a treat,” the club’s president Peter Gerolemou said.