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Phillip Pitch and Putt to close

Date

John Thistleton

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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.

9 comments

  • The Southern Cross Club is quite a money hungry organisation it talks about christen values but gains most of its profit from pokie machines and problem gamblers and pays it staff poorly

    Commenter
    jake
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    January 10, 2013, 10:41AM
    • What is the ACT government doing? Just turn the entire ACT over to CLUBS ACT and be done with it. The land should be returned to the community. The Brumbies are also turning a sports ground into a housing estate. Next time you put a twenty in a poker machine stop and think where your money (and sport fields etc) are going.

      Commenter
      stoney
      Date and time
      January 10, 2013, 10:47AM
      • You got this one right to Stoney.

        Commenter
        Nitro Gangster
        Location
        ACT
        Date and time
        January 10, 2013, 5:32PM
    • The decision to close the Pit & Put is a result of the club making the poor decision to close the Yambah Spots Club and now no longer having a venue for the gym, Therefor the need to relocate the gym to the Pit & Put grounds.

      Its sad that Clubs rely on pokies and problem gamblers to remain financial viable

      Commenter
      Jake
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      January 10, 2013, 10:55AM
      • Of course when the plans come out, for the gym to be viable it will need to be in the basement of an appartment building.

        Commenter
        Jimmy
        Date and time
        January 10, 2013, 2:42PM
    • No! This will only make Canberra more boring- who needs another gym when you can have a Pitch n Putt? Surely the SCC makes more than enough revenue from the pokies to cover any loss frrom this. I've always wanted to go there, and now I won't be able to. Just not good enough you greedy Clubs of the ACT- you say you are all about community, but where's the community spirit here?.

      Commenter
      Ginger
      Location
      Boring Canberra
      Date and time
      January 10, 2013, 12:57PM
      • One really has to question the whole 'community club' concept in the ACT and their exclusive access to gaming machines and the resultant revenue and profits that flows from that exclusive access. Acquiring concessional leases and then attempting to profit from subsequent lease purpose changes is not different to being a property developer, who pays full tax. Many of these Clubs are business empires with an executive and private business remuneration structures to match. If they don't run pitch and putt hand the lease in. Brumbies, Raiders, Southern Cross Club.. all the same. Run by wealthy and well paid individuals whose primary objective is to generate PROFITS. The Government has let the reign go and will have a great deal of difficulty grabbing hold of it again.

        Commenter
        Grange
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        January 10, 2013, 2:20PM
        • First the lawn bowlers out, now the Pitch and Putters. If I were the yachties at the Yacht Club, I would be very worried now. I am sure the Club would love to kick them out, tear down the old building and build a super max reception building. The Club would make a fortune from receptions as the location is superb. At the moment the Club is constrained from taking large receptions.as the building and the marque are small.

          Or the Club builds the yachties a shed up the back for them.

          Commenter
          Zorro
          Date and time
          January 10, 2013, 5:03PM
          • You'll find most clubs that want to invest in something better, cook the books and make it loose anyway. The future of the land is going to change because it in a prime position and the Government won't stop it because they will get a big cut out of it to. Stuff the future, grab the money now attitude is alive and well.

            Commenter
            ngwalker
            Location
            Canberra
            Date and time
            January 10, 2013, 8:06PM
            Comments are now closed
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