ON PAR: Sneak peek at Whitsunday Green golf course project
IF YOU build it, he will come.
This is a famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, but also an apt way to describe the movements at Whitsunday Green.
Construction on the project's nine-hole golf course is rapidly taking shape.
Designed by Graham Papworth, whose works include the renowned Noosa Springs on the Sunshine Coast and Asahi Country Club in Japan, the course forms a key part of the Stage 1 development.
It is the centrepiece of the Whitsunday Green Club, a new private member sports club that will also include tennis, bowls, swimming and café.
Project director Stephen Head, of Sanctuary Living, said the aim of the golf course and club was for the facility to develop into the heart and soul of Whitsunday Green.
"We are all about club living, so building a proper club up front is the first step," Mr Head said.
"From that base we can then deliver a raft of special privileges and benefits for the residents that will live in the communities we build around it."
Right now machines are on site with work to develop bunkers and the ground work for the first three holes well underway.
Mr Head said it would be a busy period until the end of October.
"There are three of ourselves working full-time on the project," he said.
"In the golf construction team there are five or six guys and we'll have three or four guys working on the irrigation.
"The numbers will go up and down depending on what's happening at any one time, but we're going OK."
Mr Head was wary of providing a deadline when quizzed on when the course would be completed and open for business.
"Realistically, sometime after Christmas is what we're shooting for," Mr Head said.
"The grass will be laid, but there is a grow-in period that needs to take place for the grass to knit properly and we'll need the weather to be on our side."
The course will feature couch grass on the fairways and hybrid bentgrass on the greens.
Mr Head, who has built golf courses for three decades, including the likes of Point Cook, Sanctuary Lakes and Sandhurst in Victoria, said the par-3 layout was specifically designed to accommodate the needs of the region's residents.
"One thing I've learned over the journey is building what the people want," he said.
"Playing golf for four to six hours, especially during those wet season months where the humidity is high, is a big ask, so the nine-hole layout suits those people who love their golf, but also enjoy the tropical lifestyle.
"A par-3 course is fair dinkum for all golfers, the good players love the challenge and it also suits those people who don't play as often.
"We want this course to fit into the fabric of the Airlie Beach community."
Sanctuary Living was engaged in March 2018 to develop the master plan of Whitsunday Green, a 275-hectare mixed use project at Cannonvale.
The master plan provides for the delivery of 2000-plus residential home sites, golf course and central core precinct featuring a resort hotel and shopping facilities.
Mr Head said the project was the first for his team in the region and has enjoyed the challenge of working in the Whitsundays.
"The council and the locals have been very accommodating to us," he said.
"We're using local people to do everything when it comes to the building of the course.
"They are invested in it and we're pleased to see things happening."
PGA golf professional and long-term local Andy Farrow has been appointed as the club's manager.
"I want our club to be known as relaxed and friendly, and open to all," Mr Farrow said.
The lap pool, gym, tennis court, lawn bowls rinks and children's playground are scheduled for construction after the course opens.
The works will also coincide with the launch of the Whitsunday Green Village, a large scale over-55s lifestyle community, the first dedicated retirement focused project in the Airlie Beach district.