MAJOR NEW ATTRACTION TO PROVIDE A BOOM FOR THE MURRAY REGION
A new $1.6m golf themed attraction proposed by the Cobram Barooga Golf Club will bring the latest in theme park styled technology and games providing a great new activity for locals as well as a genuine tourism attraction that will generate around $3m in economic activity annually and up to 17 jobs for the region.
Barooga Sporties CEO Bobby Brooks said “we are thrilled to announce this new development for the group and excited about what this will mean for our whole region. Not only will it keep Cobram Barooga amongst the best golf courses and facilities in Australia, but it will provide a genuine tourist attraction to bring more people to the region and keep them here longer. While based around golf, one of the regions tourism strengths, it will target non-golfers and key regional tourism markets such as those on holidays and visiting friends and relatives.
The recent explosion of entertainment range facilities internationally proves that the market for entertainment golf not only exists but is rapidly growing. In North America range-based entertainment is the fastest growing golf-based activity increasing from around 12 million participants in 2016 to over 20 million participants last year and 11% annual growth.
“Players of any skill level and even non-golfers see these facilities as the perfect place to experience relaxed competition while enjoying food, drink, and multiple gaming options. It’s like ten pin bowling for golf” said Mr Brooks.
The golf sector is a critical part of the overall Murray visitor economy and is a significant contributor to both overall visitation and employment across the region. By creating a ‘hero’ experience the Range will increase visitation, attract new audiences, increase length of stay and yield and generate further employment.
Destination Riverina Murray General Manager Richie Robinson said that “Destination Riverina Murray are strongly supportive of the project as it aligns with the objectives of the regions Destination Management Plan which identifies the need for further investment in supporting golf infrastructure. Technology based driving ranges are proven to appeal to a diverse range of people and therefore potential new visitors”
“The Cobram Barooga Golf Club has 669 current members and over 45,000 golf rounds a year and really is one of the strongest regional sporting clubs from a participation perspective. Currently though, less than 30 of our members are under 25 and over 75% are over 55 and while we are thrilled that this provides a really important health promotion activity for those over 55, we really see a great opportunity to provide something relevant and exciting for our regions young people and are confident this will address that” said Mr Brooks.
Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt commended the Cobram Barooga Golf Club in recognising that to ensure long-term sustainability, the provision of golf services must evolve and grow. “For a long time, golf has been widely recognised as a regional tourism strength in the Murray Region, the ability to stay and play several highly maintained championship courses is a key driver of this and to remain competitive as a region it is important that the key courses maintain their facilities at an appropriate and competitive standard” said Mr Pitt.
The project is reliant on gaining funding assistance and the community not-for-profit Sporties Group is working with Local, State and Federal Government to gain support. “The Sporties Group invests over $1m a year into providing and supporting key community infrastructure and programs servicing the Berrigan and Moira Shire Council’s and every year sponsoring and funding more than 65 local clubs and community initiatives, like the Cobram Community Cinema and the Bluearth program in primary schools. Traditionally we haven’t been very good at asking for help, but we need to if we are going to be able to continue to provide these levels of support to our community” said Mr Brooks.
The Sporties Group is seeking $1.1 million from other sources alongside providing $500,000 to get the project up and running.
Cobram Barooga Business and Tourism Chair Don Rudd highlighted the importance of the Sporties group and golf to the Cobram and Barooga communities. “Without a doubt the Sporties Group is the biggest supporter of community groups, sports clubs and community infrastructure outside of the Berrigan and Moira Shire Council’s in this region and golf is a major economic driver for the area. It is imperative to the Cobram Barooga community to have a strong and vibrant Cobram Barooga Golf Club”.
“We not only fully support this project but also strongly endorse the request for external funding into the region to ensure the Golf Club remains strong and the Sporties Group can continue to provide support and facilities so critical to the economic and social fabric of Cobram Barooga” said Mr Rudd.
“We are confident that with committed funding support we could have this project complete and open within 12 months” Said Mr Brooks.
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