Phillip Pitch and Putt to close
Photo: Glen Hunt
Southern Cross Club is closing Pitch and Putt, in Phillip, and considering other uses, including a gymnasium.
After years of trying to vary its lease on the lush 3.8-hectare site for a range of uses including a hotel, the club will close the course at the end of the month.
Chief executive Greg Mitchell said the decision boiled down to what best suited its 85,000 members.
The Pitch and Putt had 22,000 visits a year, while the Southern Cross gym catered for 30,000 visits a month.
''Over the last two years, the Pitch and Putt course has run at a loss of close to $350,000,'' Mr Mitchell said.''
The two part-time staff would be employed elsewhere among the club's 450 workforce.
Pitch and Putt committee chairman Luciano Lombardo said members had not been shown figures to justify closing the greens.
''It's a shame, the community will be devastated,'' he said.
Mr Lombardo said Southern Cross had been given a licence to make money and turned around and did what it liked.
The 200 members could go to Narrabundah Golf Club's pitch and putt, although this was doubtful, because they had heard this too could be redeveloped.
Members had never been told how much Southern Cross had paid for the course. Community goodwill had probably helped clinch the deal.
Mr Mitchell said the site was bought about 13 years ago. He could not recall the price.
Southern Cross' $5.5 million debt was very manageable for a club of the size, he said.
''While we are a not-for-profit organisation, we are a big organisation, we have a lot of facilities we have to maintain,'' he said.
''There is a degree of profit we have to make and profit that we churn back into maintaining our facilities.''
Mr Mitchell said land uses of the Pitch and Putt course were limited to public use, indoor recreation and continuing outdoor recreation.
''It is such a big area, so whatever happens, there will still be significant green space around it,'' he said. ''We've been working with the Pitch and Putt Club committee over the past 18 months to boost numbers at the course.
''However there hasn't been a turnaround.''
In early 2011, Southside Farmers Market's tenure at the nearby Phillip basketball stadium ended abruptly when a question arose over insurance.
Southern Cross Club revealed it had not owned the hall since 2004, and was renting it and in turn making it available for the 50 stall-holders.
Mr Mitchell said a separate gym business had leased the hall previously, and the club now owned that business and had a lease on the hall until 2015.