WHY IS THIS NEEDED
Federal Golf Club is facing significant challenges
Federal Golf Club is operationally sound. It’s membership numbers position it in the top 6% of golf courses nationally, and it proudly represents a premier bushland golf experience in the ACT. Despite this, the Club faces significant water security and capital investment challenges, leading to a need to diversify its income stream.
Being a public access course Federal Golf Club is a community asset which the Club's board and management believes should be maintained and protected for all Canberrans and visitors to enjoy. We believe the success of the development proposal, the Club's continued tenure at the property and the protection of the open space are all directly linked.
Despite strong operations, the Club faces the risk of an extended drought period placing such high demand on potable water use that it can no longer sustain the expense required. Efforts to reduce this risk over the last 15 years have focused on trying to minimise the reliance of the course on potable water.
Increased water storage, laying of more drought tolerant turf and introduction of additional bore water are all strategies that have been effectively implemented and have made a material difference, helping the Club through some difficult weather patterns.
Despite this, the course remains susceptible to drought conditions. Further steps can be taken to strengthen the Club's position and increase its immunity to adverse weather patterns, in particular a broadening of its income streams, which is the purpose of the proposal outlined herein.
The Club requires capital investment to achieve two primary objectives in relation to water security – increased storage, and more efficient distribution. The combined level of capital required for a solution to these issues is in the range of $2m – $3m, figures that are unachievable by the Club by itself, as determined by the independent financial review described and attached below.
Additionally, the Club's ageing clubhouse, which is core to its central functions not only for members but also to the large number of private, corporate and community functions held there, will require significant investment over the short term.
With both the urgent investment required in water infrastructure and short to medium term investment requirements of the clubhouse, the Club needs a solution of sufficient scale to solve the magnitude of its financial capital shortage.
The Club has previously investigated its options to diversify its income to allow greater capital investment into this community asset. A report commission in 2013 know as the Tony Adam’s report considered the Club's options and concluded that four should be investigated further:
Hotel / Golfing Tourism
Further assessment by the Club has determined that options 1 and 2 cannot provide the commercial returns necessary to address the issues it faces. Option 3 is operationally intense and can be subject to cyclical and seasonal events. Option 4 is the strong viable preference and is supported by the Club’s community based view that provision of age-appropriate housing that allows seniors to stay close to their local community rather than move to the urban fringes is important.
Independent Financial Review
In 2018 the Club commissioned an independent review of its current and potential financial performance and its ability to self-fund the water and capital works. This review assessed that the Club is not capable of borrowing or generating the surplus funds required to complete the necessary works.