Superseded technology can often be the ball dragging the chain at community sports clubs. Facing inefficiencies due to an outdated irrigation system, Leongatha Golf Club rolled up their sleeves to raise funds for a much needed update.

Manufactured in the 1960’s and installed in the 1980’s, the irrigation system in place at Leongatha Golf Club is a manual labour nightmare.

The technology, now 55 years old, is extremely inefficient costing the club in both man hours, electricity and water use. A situation that many clubs in Gippsland can probably assimilate to.

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The solution – a modern automated irrigation system, to irrigate all tees & greens, 3 fairways and the club’s turf nursery, which will save the club thousands of dollars each year in reduced labour and utility costs. Not to mention a significantly smaller environmental footprint.  The system will have the capacity for future upgrades to include the remaining fairways at a time that the club has the capital to do so.

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The project was costed at $235,000. An overwhelming sum for most regional sports clubs and golf facilities. However, Leongatha reached out to a number of organizations in place to support local sports facilities and now their goal is within reach.  This process is replicable for clubs across the region.

Working closely with us at GippSport as the Regional Sports Assembly and consultancy Hands On Community Solutions, the club underwent a strategic planning process during the 2014-15 year.  This process clearly identified the irrigation system upgrade as the club’s highest priority project and the club was then able to embark on the process towards securing funding to make the project a reality.

Club Manager, Josh Hall, and the club’s Board of Management at the time, took on what was an 18 month journey to secure funding from both local and state governments.

After many presentations and meetings with the Council staff, recreation planners & grants officers, to ensure alignment with Council’s direction for community facility funding, South Gippsland Shire Council have committed $50,000 towards the project while a successful application to the Victorian Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Fund has secured an additional $80,000.

Club Manager, Josh Hall is thrilled to be on the receiving end of much needed funding.

“From a club management perspective, implementation of this project frees up a significant amount of both paid & volunteer labour.  The current system costs the club a significant amount in maintenance and most significantly it takes the equivalent of 1 full time position a week to irrigate the course from October to March.

With this automated system we’ll be able to irrigate the course overnight and then re-invest that labour & money into other course and club development projects.  It will also allow us to continue to invest in innovative community participation programs to ensure the whole South Gippsland community can enjoy our great facility.”

Feedback from Sport & Recreation Victoria on the club’s successful grant application stated that the work the club was putting in growing its community programs was a strong feature of its application, including:

  • SNAG Kinder Golf;
  • A thriving women’s & junior beginner program;
  • Ezy9’s Big Hole Golf;
  • An Access for All Abilities program; and
  • Currently working to implement SwingFit, Golf Australia’s social participation program.

A successful application to the Sport & Recreation Victoria Community Sports Infrastructure Fund must show considerable community benefit, increased participation and an alignment to both Local & State Government priorities for sport facility funding.

Leongatha GC now face the more manageable challenge of raising the remaining $90,000. Through the Australian Sports Foundation, Leongatha is accepting tax-deductable donations from their membership base and others in the community. To view the clubs fundraising page click here. GippSport is able to work with clubs to set up their own foundation & project fundraising pages with the ASF.

The Leongatha GC is also working with the Inverloch & District Community Bank, Branch of Bendigo Bank, to reach the $90,000 target.  The club already has finance approved but has made an application to the bank’s Board of Community Directors for a contribution, which in July was announced as successful.

Recently, South Gippsland Shire Council put the project out to tender with the project awarded to the successful candidate in September.  The project has just started the installation phase with an anticipated completion date of before Christmas in time for the busiest summer watering season.

Golf Victoria Government and Community Relations Manager, Fiona Telford encourages any golf and other sports clubs in need of assistance to consider the various grants on offer throughout Victoria.

“There are a range of grants on offer from the state government that are designed to assist sporting clubs around Victoria to redevelop ageing infrastructure, implement sporting programs and boost participation,” said Telford.

“Leongatha Golf Club has taken the initiative to raise funds through government and other sources and I congratulate them for their achievement.”

For more information and to see what is available, visit GippSport’s Grants and Funding page and please contact us if you need assistance working with your Local Government and developing your application.