Could casual golfers save Willunga Golf Course?

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Membership numbers and golf rounds played at Willunga Golf Course continue to drop – nine months after Onkaparinga Council abandoned plans to sell part of the course.

Membership at the St Peters Tce course has dropped from 431 in 2015/16, to 389 in 2016/17 to 366 last financial year.

The number of public rounds has dropped too – down by 20 per cent in the past three financial years, from 32,229 in 2015 to 25,711 last year.

This comes despite the council last November throwing the Willunga Golf Club a lifeline, abandoning its plan to cut the course from 18 to nine holes to save money.

Instead, it agreed to invest funding towards attracting new members.

A council report last week said “the best potential” for short-term revenue growth would come from increasing public golf rounds, rather than gaining more memberships.

“Pursuing the casual golfer market will differentiate Willunga Golf Course from other golf clubs in the Onkaparinga region, which operates primarily as member-focused clubs,” a report said.

Onkaparinga Council chief financial officer Anthony Spartalis said he expected the course to improve.

“Willunga Golf Course has strong potential so we’re taking action to improve marketing, introduce a new management model, improve on-course hospitality options and offer diverse experiences beyond just playing golf, such as the successful FootGolf program,” Mr Spartalis said.

“All of these measures are focused on maximising the potential of the course, reducing costs, and building its profile as an outstanding golf facility in SA.”

The council would also introduce new software called MiClub to further improve management. It hopes to have the system installed next month.

This would allow players to book and pay for rounds of golf online and provide better customer service, a report says.

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