BAND OF BROTHERS: Lawrence Golf Club volunteer workers have kept their course looking good for decades. From left: Tony Chester, Col Wheeler, team mascot Mojo, James Welsh, Barry Wheeler, Shane Rose and Denis Hardwick.
BAND OF BROTHERS: Lawrence Golf Club volunteer workers have kept their course looking good for decades. From left: Tony Chester, Col Wheeler, team mascot Mojo, James Welsh, Barry Wheeler, Shane Rose and Denis Hardwick. Tim Howard

Volunteers offer help to struggling golf course

THE band of volunteer workers that has kept the nine-hole course at Lawrence open for decades has offered to show a local course under threat of closure how it can transition to a volunteer organisation.

The manager of Westlawn Golf Course, the Grafton District Services Club, has notified golf course users it will not renew the lease on the course at the end of this year, effectively closing the golf club which has operated from there since 1981.

The GDSC said it can no longer justify expenditure of about $200,000 a year for a return of about $40,000 and last month notified golfers of its intentions to close the operation.

The move has disappointed and angered golfers in the GDSC, as well as the local community.

They say closing the course will cost Grafton a valuable asset, especially as older members find the small course more user-friendly than the Grafton District Golf Club course in South Grafton.

The president of the Lawrence Golf Club Inc, Max Withnell, said his band of volunteers would be willing to show people from the Westlawn club what it takes to turn out an attractive nine-hole course without the big price tag.

"We would be happy for the club to get a group of people interested in volunteering to come out here so we could show them the ropes," Mr Withnell said.

"You've got to have a love of the place," said one volunteer worker.

"The course was built by the people of the town and that same thread goes through everyone who volunteers."

One volunteer said he had arrived at the town, looking to get involved in something in the Lawrence community.

"I thought it might have been the bush fire brigade, or something like that," he said.

"But someone said some people needed a hand down at the golf course, so I went down and I've never looked back."

Mr Withnell said it is a six-day-a-week effort, but does not require everyone every day.

"Tuesdays and Fridays are mainly mowing days, and Monday and Wednesdays someone comes down to water the greens and tees," he said.

"We would love to show the Westlawn guys around our course and let them see just what's involved."


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