Although still in the design phase, the Warrnambool Golf Club/Driving Range would be a ‘gamechanger’ for both the township and also for those travelling along the Great Ocean Road if it comes to realization. Conceived to bolster the membership and general facilities of the club it also results in a major tourist attraction; it would bring both locals and tourists to come and have a hit on the new range and a drink in the bar afterwards. The old clubhouse would be removed and its functional requirements would be incorporated into the new building often overlapping in use with the operation of the driving range. This makes the clubhouse an income generating building as opposed to a stand alone one that is unused for the majority of the week.
Rather than a standard steel frame and roofed hitting area with peripheral buildings, our proposed design is partially submerged into the naturally undulating landscape, tiered not dissimilar to an amphitheatre but strategically designed to merge with the topography. Locating the club and hitting areas below ground level not only allow golfers, friends and visitors to feel immersed in this unique landscape, but will also provide a more protected environment from the strong winds that can be experienced along this area of Victoria’s wild western coastline. The design will also reduce the building’s overall footprint in the process, for example the private golf tuition area has the ability to be used for a club meeting room as well as a function room. The multilevel design will also enable golfers to tee-off from different levels, depending on personal preference or weather conditions.
The multi-function private tuition room will have retractable windows where golfers can hit out on the fairway beyond. It is connected to a small admin office area, a kitchenette, toilet and store. At the other end of the lower tee off area is a pro shop that sits under the bar/café with an outdoor mezzanine terrace allowing spectators to view the teeing off of both the top tier as well as the covered area below. Access is via either a long, curved ramp providing easy movement of both people and golf buggies or the spiral staircase that ties them together vertically, providing a more direct connection between the three levels. Porthole-style skylights allow for natural light to reach to all the undercover areas below the turf.
An extensive report has been tabled at the club for this major undertaking, which notes the short term and long-term benefits for the community, the benefits for broader Victoria, cannot be underestimated. Not only for those who regularly head along the west coast and down the Great Ocean Rd for their holidays and might drop in for a hit to break up the drive it will create a “destination” providing a great reason for other tourists, both local and from abroad to stop to visit the club and spend time in Warrnambool.