Brett Tumney, of Hatton Vale, now plays golf at Esk because his local course closed. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Brett Tumney, of Hatton Vale, now plays golf at Esk because his local course closed. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

Popular golf course destined to become housing estate

NEW owners of the Fairways Tavern at Hatton Vale are not discussing the future development of the site as “nothing has been confirmed” after, Hatton Vale Golf Club closed two days before Christmas last year.

The majority of former Hatton Vale Golf Club members are now playing at Esk, with others playing at Laidley, Gatton or Lowood.

Lockyer Valley Council chief executive Ian Church said the 23.76ha golf course site – Lot 3 RP 890810 – is zoned “open space and reserve”.

“Council received a development application for reconfiguring a lot to create 43 lots and a reserve on February 19, 2020,” Mr Church said this week.

READ MORE: New owners’ plans for popular golf course

“As a code-assessable application, public notification is not required under the provisions of the Planning Act 2016 and therefore public submissions cannot be made.

“Where an application meets the code, council may have limited ability to seek amendments.”

Mr Church said the development application could be viewed through the Online Services Track, an application portal on the council’s website, using the application number RL2020/0006.

Fairways Tavern owner Greg Bickle said there had been about “30–40 members” of Hatton Vale Golf Club, which shut down due to lack of membership and ongoing poor weather conditions.

Mr Bickle said he wasn’t sure if membership numbers at the club had been dropping but “anything under 100 and you’ve got a problem”.

He said the club was struggling with a lack of water in the two dams used for irrigation on site after the prolonged drought.

“There’s still water issues there now and the two dams are empty,” he said.

“It’s not economic and costs a fortune to upkeep.”

Mr Bickle said it was “sad” the course had shut but “it won’t be opened again”.

He said that after purchasing the property in September from the Morgans – who had been the tavern and course owners for 25 years – he had spoken to the golf club president and advised they could continue to use the course until Christmas.

“We did what we could for them,” Mr Bickle said.

“They had been notified some time before August that it was due to close so they were expecting it.”

He said the course officially closed after the final tournament for the year and the tavern was “continuing to run as normal and we’re about to freshen the place up”.

Mr Bickle said investment into the tavern would continue and he had recently started a Tuesday night Chinese food menu.

“We’ll be introducing new things for people – it’s a home away from home and it’s nice and close for everybody there,” he said.

“We’re actually making inquiries about a courtesy bus for the locals. We’re hoping to do a six to eight-week trial and see if there’s interest.”

Former golf club member and Hatton Vale resident Brett Tumney said he was sad to see the club close and he now played at Esk Golf Club, where he estimated 80 per cent of Hatton Vale members had gone.

He said the Hatton Vale course, which had been a 35-minute walk from his house, was a club with “good people” and a “challenging course”.

Mr Tumney, who has played golf since 2004 and at Hatton Vale since 2011, said friends picked him up every Saturday for the 35–40-minute drive to Esk Golf Club, where he had also formed good friendships.

The Bickle family runs the Katarzyna Group and they operate one of the most sizeable independent hospitality groups, including ownership of a number of bars, nightclubs and restaurants mainly in Brisbane.