Moore Park golf
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I have a disclosure to make first up. Moore Park was one of my regular golfing spots when I first started playing golf. I don’t know if you went through that stage of playing on your own or trying to play at any rate. Not being a member of any club or social club at the very start of my golfing journey I would venture out to public courses like Moore Park and hire clubs. It had a driving range so it made a fair bit of sense. Hearing now that it is for the chop it was a shock to the system. Moore Park Golf: The sacrificial scapegoat.

person grass sport outdoors The mental game: Strategies for success in golf
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Sacrificing Public Land Previously Designated For Golf

A public golf course of 18 holes in the city is a rare beast, as many of you would know. The fact that Moore Park Golf has a 100 year history is no surprise to me. Golf courses are definitely no sacred cows in the land down under in the 21C. In fact golf has a bad reputation in the mind’s of many who don’t play the game. Have you ever noticed that the villains in TV shows are often shown playing golf. Golf is associated with power and corruption in the mind’s of quite a few screen writers it seems. It doesn’t help that Donald Trump is a golf afficionado. The biggest cheat in golf and in everything else he does pollutes the atmosphere when it comes to the game of golf. Too many people associate golf with elites, wealth, and exclusivity.

man playing golf
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Housing Shortage Rings The Death Knell For Moore Park Golf

Apparently, they want the crown land that Moore Park Golf sits upon for more public space. In Australia, we have a housing crisis where there aren’t enough houses and apartments to meet the demand. The fact that the federal government is simultaneously bringing in a thousand new migrants per day is neither here nor there, according to the lack of public scrutiny about this. Rents are going through the roof right around Australia because of the shortage of rental stocks for residential requirements. Still, we are opening the floodgates to record levels of immigration without question. Where are all these folks gonna live?

man in white t shirt playing golf
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Golf Seen As Elitist Waste Of Space By Greenies

Golf is on the nose, apparently, and seen as a waste of space. Accommodation for wealthy Sydneysiders and opportunities for real estate developers to make more money rank much higher on the moral good scale. Australia keeps bringing in cashed up migrants to maintain economic productivity levels and to avoid a recession. It is a way of cooking the books economically speaking for governments during challenging times like the present high inflationary, high interest rate period. Golf gets to take it in the neck for the good of the nation. Meanwhile, those wealthy residents who don’t want to see high density living in their neck of the woods can go on deflecting scrutiny away from their suburbs.

Moore Park Golf: The sacrificial scapegoat gets carved up instead.

“As much as 20 hectares will be carved off from the course and made into parkland. The golf course is on public land but has been operated privately under successive service agreements with the NSW government. The current agreement expires in mid-2026.

Comment was being sought from Moore Park golf club.

Its president, John Janik, told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday: “This course was built for the working class. All the other golf courses in this area charge $3,000 per year. We only charge a few hundred dollars a year. I actually thought Labor represented the working class.”

According to the club’s website “memberships are currently closed but applications are being waitlisted”. A round of 18 holes at the course costs from $45 to $65.”

Moore Park Golf will go from 18 holes to 9 holes following the redevelopment into public parkland. I wonder just how long that parkland will be able to resist the demands of more housing for Sydney. I predict the 9 hole course and the parklands will be gobbled up by development inside a decade.

Golfer on the bridleway
Golfer on the bridleway by David Anstiss is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Future Of Golf

More golf courses, especially within capital cities and close to the CBD will be under heaps of pressure to be converted to more housing and apartments  The poorer public courses and clubs will go first as the low hanging fruit. Golf is probably headed for a digital fate and will end up as a virtual 3D video game. The technology is already beating its door down and this in tandem with the voracious appetite of real estate in cities will spell the death knell for golf. In the not too distant future grandfathers will be telling their grandkids about what playing golf on real grass was like. “Really Grandad, you used to get your hands dirty playing golf – how weird is that?”

I have written a lot about how special the experience of playing golf truly is. Many golfers probably reckon I go on about that too bloody much, but as progress and development encroaches more and more on golf, perhaps, my writing may prove prophetic. It may become a fond memory from bygone days when there was more space and less population pressures on a finite resource. The green cathedral may, indeed, come into its own as something hallowed but now gone. I sure hope not!

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of The Stoic Golfer: Finding Inner Peace & Focus on the Fairway