Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland has met with the group trying to save Melbourne’s Northcote golf course as the campaign ramps up.

Sutherland spent time with the group today as plans emerged for a public gathering next Monday.

The local Darebin Council, which owns the land on which the public golf course was built in the 1960s, has begun a consultation process over the course and has suggested “shared use” with the community.

In response, the Northcote Community and Golf Hub group has been formed taking in both golf clubs who use the facility, Northcote Golf Club and Normandy Golf Club, as well as green fee players and casual users of the facility.

Some local residents who used the course during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 have called for the return of the golf course to the community as parkland. The consultation process ends in December.

Spokesman for the golfers, Bill Jennings, said the campaign was running strongly.

“We’re working towards a meeting on Monday where we bring our supporters together and we’re going to do what we’ve done throughout the campaign, which is to bring a positive vision for this golf course.

“We respect our opponents having a different opinion, but we do ask them: ‘How are you going to pay for just a park?’ One of the key stakeholders in this is the ratepayer.

“We think there are plenty of parks surrounding the golf course. We think, and I think our opponents would even say this, the community sentiment is with the Nortchote Community and Golf Club because we’re the ones who’ve put up a vision.”

Sutherland wrote a letter to all Victorian golfers last week calling for their support in the cause of Northcote and public golf generally.

“Public golf is the estuary of our game,” he said. “It is where most people start. Take it away, and we don’t have a game.”

Monday’s meeting of supporters is at 7pm at the Aboriginal Advancement League building, 2 Watt Street, Thornbury.

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