Moore is less: Slicing a golf course for parkland makes a hole lot of sense
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Historically, the Scottish have had it pretty hard. Invaded many times, not to mention putting up with people learning the bagpipes, it hasn’t been an easy run. The Scots, however, achieved their revenge on the rest of the world in the most devious of ways. By inventing golf.
Only a slightly inebriated Scotsman could come up with a game so devilish, that involves whacking a two-inch ball with a broom handle down a rabbit hole 500 yards away – 18 times. Fiends.
Not as weird as golf, but still weird. Credit: iStock
I think it broke my father’s heart when he realised my idea of a “good long walk” was the hike that takes you to a secluded, secret fishing spot. His idea of a “good long walk” was chasing the white pill he’d walloped up a neatly mown luminous green paddock for five hours.
I suppose it was my father’s love of golf that cemented the sport as “weird” in my mind. Growing up, it was the only sport I knew where one could practise one’s technique in public without anyone batting an eyelid. Golfers could perfect their swing while lining up at the bank, the post office and even in the middle of a conversation.
Imagine a fisherman practising his beach casting technique as he lined up for a burger combo. Or a trail bike fanatic practising their jump landings as they run up and down the aisles of the local supermarket.
Still, I appreciate that some people find the sport of golf relaxing. And hey, if it’s something you enjoy, who’s to stop you?
Something you can practise anywhere.Credit: Jessica Hromas
Enter the NSW Government. Yes, golfers are being shooed off their fairway by state orchestrated progress across the city. The previous government took a 1.5-hectare divot out of Cammeray Golf Course and forced the course to be reconfigured to make way for freeway upgrades.
Now, NSW Premier Chris Minns has announced that Moore Park Golf Course will be vivisected, with 20 hectares given to the creation of a new “central park”. Minns said that due to increased housing density around Green Square, Zetland and Waterloo, there’s a growing demand for more parkland.
While I feel a bit sorry for the polo shirt and tweed pants brigade, the government has a responsibility to the wider community. If the example of the concrete jungles built in the US and UK in the 60s and 70s – as well as COVID lockdowns – taught us anything, it was that humans need green spaces. And with a housing affordability and supply crisis dogging NSW more than any other state, sacrifices will be necessary.
The fear is obviously that this will be the thin edge of the sand-wedge. That as housing supply becomes more of an issue, we will see high-density suburbs like Zetland and Green Square spring up across the city and indeed the state, requiring more golf courses and other sporting facilities to be downsized as more community green spaces are required.
Golfers likely fear that city courses might soon have highrise apartments surrounding the local nine holes, but I’m sure some shrewd entrepreneurial types will work out a way to rent out their apartment on weekends so that golfers can tee-off from their third-floor apartment balcony, transforming a short par three into a challenging par five.
There will also be some who argue that the government’s decision will impact the health benefits of golf, especially for older Australians, where the walk between the golf buggy and the green is the only exercise they get during the week.
Try doing that at the bank or the supermarket. Credit: Scott McNaughton
That said, some cardiologists would argue that the reduction in blood pressure among patients from playing less golf might be a healthy outcome. That would, of course, be those cardiologists that could be reached for comment while on the golf course.
No one likes to see their hobby impeded, especially at a golf course that has been open to the public for around 100 years. And comments from some locals and the Moore Park Golf Club president would suggest that patrons aren’t going to sit quietly in the 19th hole clubhouse and let the government play through.
It’s times like these I feel lucky to have hobbies with far less constricting boundaries, like fishing. I mean, it’s pretty hard to cut a swathe out of the ocean, right?
What was that … offshore “what” on fishing grounds? Wind turbines? Aw, crap.
Brad Emery is a freelance writer.
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