The City of Fremantle has engaged some of Australia’s most respected golf course designers to reconfigure the Fremantle Public Golf Course.
The City has appointed Perth-based landscape architects Aspect Studios to undertake the project, including specialist golf course designer Richard Chamberlain, landscape architect Stuart Pullyblank and project manager Mal Birch.
Mr Chamberlain has more than 30 years of international experience in golf course design including at Royal Hobart and Royal Fremantle golf clubs. He is also responsible for the extremely successful mini-golf course at the Wembley Golf Course.
Mr Pullyblank and Mr Birch have recently completed the redevelopment of the Lake 9 at Collier Park in the City of South Perth.
Aspect Studios Director Tom Griffiths said the design of the new Fremantle layout would be led by the landscape.
“There are some beautiful existing trees, there’s some really interesting topography associated with the course and the unique characteristics of the narrow fairways and the Fremantle Doctor pounding in, so there are some unique qualities that we would like to draw out in the design,” Mr Griffiths said.
“It will be a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, but we haven’t come with any preconceived notions.
“We’ve brought together a team of experts and we want to work with the local stakeholders and the lessee to seek out the best opportunities for the course.”
The redesign of the golf course is needed to make way for the Main Roads WA upgrade of High Street, which will result in the loss of the third and sixth holes.
Fremantle Council aim to achieve a redeveloped nine hole, par 34 course and provide equivalent driving range and practice facilities, while also retaining mature trees and minimising the impact on neighbouring Booyeembara Park.
Project manager Mal Birch said he was confident golfers would be satisfied when the course revamp is completed.
“I think people will be happily surprised when it all comes to fruition because people are used to it being a tight course and a short course but there are some opportunities to tidy it up a bit as well.
“The whole process gives the course and the City the opportunity to re-establish and re-badge the brand of what the course is about.
“Depending on what the final options are regarding the clubhouse and public facilities, I think it will be a really effective means of moving from what the course and the facilities are now to something that will be a real uplift.
“It could be very similar to what’s happened at Wembley, where it was already a well-liked course and a well catered for course but the transformation there was just amazing.”
The Fremantle Public Golf Course is operated by the lessee Evergreen Golf.
Evergreen Director Andrew Billingham said while he was anxious about some aspects of the project he was also excited by the opportunity.
“I think the City’s done some good stuff with who they’ve got to do it and I’m interested to see what they can come up with,” Mr Billingham said.
“To the regular players I’d say we have to a break a few eggs to make an omelette, so it’s going to be an upheaval but it will be worth it in the end.”
The course designers met with representatives of the clubs based at Fremantle Public Golf Course last week to discuss the redesign process.
Issues such as the design of the new club house will be considered by Fremantle Council in the coming months.