THE Proserpine Golf Club is one step closer to addressing the never-ending challenge of keeping water up to its 18-hole course during the dry season, thanks to a $750,000 pre-election commitment from North Queensland’s newest political party.
In a huge boost for the club, the only one boasting an 18-hole course on the mainland between Mackay and the Burdekin, NQ First has promised to support a major irrigation project which was first brought to the attention of NQ First Leader and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan late last year.
Mr Costigan said the project had great merit and with sporting clubs doing it tough in the wake of COVID-19, he had tapped into NQ First’s $1b Building the North program, which is specifically for job-creating projects in North, Far North and Central Queensland.
“If I’m back as the Member for Whitsunday, with the balance of power, this funding for the Proserpine Golf Club is guaranteed,” said Mr Costigan who shared the news late yesterday afternoon in the company of resident professional Roger Vandenberg and club captain Peter Lewis.
Mr Costigan, who wrote the odd golf story in his days as a sports reporter, said the pledge followed discussions with club officials in November last year when he inspected sections of the course that were then desperately crying out for water ahead of the wet season.
“It’s a poor look for tourists when they come here and see a brown course but that’s the reality with only one-third of it under irrigation. The club is not in a position to fix it so that is where we come in, providing $750,000, subject to us winning the balance of power on October 31,” he said.
Mr Lewis, a stalwart of the club, welcomed the funding commitment less than two months before the State Election and hoped the irrigation project would become a reality sooner than later especially after a difficult year, given border closures and other restrictions as a result of COVID-19.
“It’s the locals who are keeping the club going but we hope that when the time is right, we welcome back visitors from far and wide for a round of golf which brings people and money into Proserpine and that is good for the town’s economy and good for tourism, not just golf,” he said.
“We’ve had some talented golfers on this course over the years, most notably Karrie Webb and by having better facilities, we can not only get more people coming into the town, we will also get more people involved in our sport and perhaps with a bit of luck, a future star, just like Karrie.”