Australia merger is biggest in golf history

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams November 6, 2013 11:40

Two of the greatest golf clubs in Australia are to merge with each other.

The announcement, probably the biggest golf club merger to have ever taken place, is a sign of the struggling nature of the Australian golf market.

Kingswood Golf Club in Victoria, a 105-year-old private members’ club rated in the top 50 in Australia, is to merge with Peninsula Country Golf Club, which has two courses rated in the top 30 and is located about 15 miles away.

As part of the deal, Kingswood will close down, with all assets transferred to Peninsula, which will change its name to Peninsula-Kingswood Country Club.

Over the next five years the land at Kingswood will be converted into a residential development, which will generate nearly £24 million for Peninsula-Kingswood Country Club, making it one of the wealthiest golf clubs in the world. The members at Kingswood will be allowed to join this club for half the asking price.

The news comes as Kingswood has struggled over the past decade, a period that has seen its membership drop by 25 percent.

”There was a lot of angst from the members and a lot of sadness,” said Kingswood’s manager, Heath Wilson. ”It’s a bit like a death, we are grieving for our golf club. But we are thinking of the future, not the present, and we need to act now to survive.”

”These are fundamental changes,” added Peninsula’s general manager Gary Richardson. ”Melbourne’s population has grown dramatically but they aren’t necessarily golfers.

”Also the role of males has changed, and golf is overwhelmingly male. Saturday afternoon has traditionally been dad’s day off to play golf.

”That isn’t the case any more. Parenting has changed.”

Golf participation is not significantly down in Australia over the last few years, but golfers are increasingly using discount websites and social clubs to play, rather than be members of clubs, meaning they’re spending far less than they used to on facilities.

”People are time-poor and can’t cop the high cost,” added Wilson.

A spokesman for Golf Victoria, the parent body for golf clubs in Victoria, said several other clubs would be watching the merger to see if it might work for them.


Emma Williams
By Emma Williams November 6, 2013 11:40
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  1. MAREE WATSON July 28, 01:24

    I miss his rissoles too but poor Stewie and many other businesses closed their doors because of constant rental increases.
    How can you presume to know who detests big business???

    Reply to this comment
  2. MAREE WATSON July 28, 01:11

    Incorrect! I have lived on the KGC boundary for 37 years and have NEVER received an ïnvitation to join as a social member or been invited to a cocktail party.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Phil Carmichael December 23, 23:07

    The locals fail to understand that it is the members who pay for the club to remain where it is through their years of patronage and love of golf. If the golf course is so important to the local community, raise the rates of each household to save the golf course instead of expecting the members to pay increased fees for the upkeep of the course. I wonder how much support you will gather if the community had to pay! As others have said, investigate the real reason why the course needs to merge…..and please stop going on about the course being the lungs of Village. It’s hidden behnd a hedged fence and i bet 99.9% of residents have never even looked beyond the gates.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Gary Seymour November 28, 10:12

    As a member of the Kingswood Golf Club for over 30 years and a former Club Captain I have no idea where Kevin Poulter’s comments come from. We as a club have tried to initiate membership of the club for as long as I remember and we actively invited all boundary members to join as social members to enjoy the facilities of the club as well as inviting them all to cocktail parties to see the facilities that we have on offer. The result was negligible, so why all the fuss that we now have the opportunity to seeing the club survive forever financially following the merger with Peninsula Country Club Golf Club giving the members a first class facility which will be the envy of all clubs in the Melbourne Metropolitan Area.
    The members have voted for the merger and it has nothing to do with the Dingley Village Community and may I suggest that the members of the Dingley Village Community Committee deploy their energy into the resurrection of the dilapidated and disgraceful state of our once viable shopping centre

    Reply to this comment
    • Terry Hogan November 28, 21:57

      Because you censored my last post I can only assume it offended somebody so I will be nice this time. Can I suggest Kevin Poulter contact the manager of Kingswood and make an appointment so he can learn first hand what has been done to save Kingswood, then he will be saying what he knows not what he has been told. Bet it doesn’t happen.

      Reply to this comment
    • HarryK January 2, 22:34

      Well said Gary. I wonder how many dingley village loyalists who are fighting this actually spend much money at the shopping centre, or prefer to go the bright lights of Westfield Southland!!.. they most certainly aren’t spending much at Kingswood either.
      Poor Stewie the butcher has now closed his doors, i will miss his amazing Rissoles!! These ‘loyalists’ detest big business such as the developers eying off the land, well i bet they bought the cheaper inferior meats from the Woolies, further filling the pockets of ‘big business’ rather than supporting their own in Stewie!!!!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Kevin Poulter November 8, 13:48

    This “merger” is the biggest and most dubious in history. Many other options were open to the Club, however members were directed to the option that suited just a few power brokers.

    The President was not given the honour of his position to demolish the Golf Course and distress all the Course neighbours and the entire Village.

    The course neighbours previously purchased land surplus to the Club’s requirements, a premium, with the implied implication that they would have magnificent Golf Course views forever. Some have even purchased the views just recently.

    It’s not described by most members as an “amalgamation”, rather a bizarre and disgraceful sell-out – a jaw-dropping gift to another distant club, with few Kingswood members even likely to use the distant club. At the same time it’s devastating to the entire Village, who rely on the Golf Course for recreation, plus as the “lungs” and character of the Village.

    There were many other options open to the Club, including 21st Century Marketing. As a resident for 42 years, I’ve never seen an advertisement for the Course and it’s services.

    A huge group has been formed to stop the move, which will impact the entire town. Personally I’ve handled just over 800 emails and protest letters in 3 weeks!

    We have two lawyers, a Public Relations Company, Senior Politicians, Councillors, Journalists and most of all nearly the entire town of passionate residents who want to retain Dingley Village’s most important asset.

    I hope the President tells would-be developers as they look at the park with massive profit in their eyes, a previous sell-out plan was defeated.

    To see more, visit or Google save-kingswood-group We will update regularly.

    Reply to this comment
    • Phil McCavity November 18, 02:02

      Go away Kevin,
      the Club had tried many initiatives over the years which kept getting foiled by a selfish small minority who live on the boundary.
      They prefer to not change anything during their lifetime despite the well-documented problems in the industry and longer term forecasts that don’t provide a future for the Club.
      Selfish mindsets like Kevin’s never see the bigger picture, they can’t get beyond inconvenience to themselves.
      Instead, congratulations should go to their Board for being so brave and taking steps that other Melbourne clubs are now envious of.
      The problems facing Clubs are not going away and are not the fault of Kingswood or Peninsula. These two Clubs just saw the situation and acted while others continue to “ponder”.

      Reply to this comment
      • Terry Hogan November 24, 03:01

        Who is kevin poulter? he’s certainly not a member of Kingswood.

        Reply to this comment
        • HarryK January 2, 22:27

          So you buy a block of land with beach views, sold to you as beach views but there is a vacant block between you and the beach.. 1 year or 10 years later it’s developed and you lose your beach views.. That’s life!!! Get it over course side residents, especially those that AREN’T even members. Also to those village residents that AREN’T members.. get over it.. just because a ‘private’ facility is near you doesn’t mean you have any claim to it. If it is so dear to you here’s a suggestion, which is probably too late anyway.. join the golf club!!
          Question.. how many village residents who have signed the petition would be willing to commit to $2000-4000 payment to the club every year for the life of their village residency, as a membership fee or donation? That will help keep the club profitable into the future.. Or do you just want it there for eternity with no actual cost to you… if that was the case i might buy a house 800m from Royal Melbourne and demand my membership fees become free every year!! Will save me thousands in the long term!!! It is a shame to see Kingswood go but in simple terms put your money where your mouth is or just sit down and shut up!!

          Reply to this comment
  6. Trent Park Golf Club (@trentparkgolf) November 6, 13:01

    Australia merger is biggest in golf history » Golf Club Management

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