World Golf Hall-of-Famer Karrie Webb and Australian cricket superstar Alyssa Healy have joined a chorus of golf lovers fighting to save Moore Park Golf Course from City of Sydney’s bullish plans to halve it from 18 holes to nine.

Australian Golf Digest understands the controversial move – pitched to create more public parkland for nearby residents despite the 159-hectare Centennial Parklands sitting little more than 1 kilometre away – could be fast-tracked by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore after the motion successfully passed a councillor vote recently.

But Webb, one of Australia’s greatest-ever golfers and introduced to the sport through public golf facilities like Moore Park, took to Twitter to express her dismay at plans to downsize one of the world’s busiest community sporting facilities.

“I’ve signed the petition in support of Moore Park Golf remaining as an 18-hole, public-use golf course,” Webb tweeted on Saturday.

“How many city councils around the world would kill to have their public courses (catering for) 60,000 rounds per year and (upwards of) 90,000 this year? This isn’t the solution for poor town planning, Clover Moore.”

Healy, a golf tragic with husband and fellow Aussie cricketer Mitchell Starc, was quick to chime in with her thoughts, saying: “If anything, they should invest in that course and make it even better, along with the range!”

Australian tennis great Liz Smylie, whose son Elvis is among an exciting class of golf’s next generation of talent, pledged her support despite not using the fairway herself.

“(I’ve signed) too… and I don’t even play golf! It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Tweeted the four-time Grand Slam doubles champ.

Such high-profile support comes after NSW clubs reported spikes in membership numbers not seen in years, with Moore Park predicting a jump of around 50 percent in total rounds played from 60,000 in 2019-2020 to approximately 90,000 in 2020-2021, according to a report from Golf NSW.


In addition to the number of rounds predicted to be played this financial year, an estimated 250,000 customers are expected to use the multi-story driving range.

Moore Park Golf Club vice-president John Janik said due to the uptick in interest in the sport and use of the Centennial Parklands Trust facility, membership enquiries at the club had jumped considerably.

“We are seeing a lot of enquiries about joining from people who have never played before,” Janik says.

“We offer a three-month package for them to try our membership model. Already this month, 19 people have taken it up. We are expecting even more enquiries as the summer approaches.”

Affiliation numbers provided to Golf NSW from clubs show a jump in memberships of about 1.4% across Metropolitan Sydney, and 4.2% in regional New South Wales.

Several clubs in metropolitan Sydney have reported double-digit increases in memberships, including Balgowlah (up 12%), Bexley (17.4%), Brighton Lakes (22.4%), Cammeray (11.5%), Marrickville (16.2%), Stonecutters Ridge (10.6%), and Woolooware (19.8%).

Regional club memberships have also reported significant increases including Armidale (39%), Taree (24%), Forster/Tuncurry (16%), Links Shell Cove (15.5%), Thurgoona (14.6%), Toronto (14.7%), and Waratah Golf Club in Newcastle (20.8%).

Stuart Fraser, chief executive of Golf New South Wales, said it was pleasing to see interest in the sport back on the rise.

“While there’s no doubt COVID has contributed to a resurgence of interest in golf, it’s easy to see that people aren’t merely trying the sport then moving on to something else,” Fraser says.

“People are coming back and playing golf more than once; it’s clear a growing number are even stepping beyond just the social aspect of the game and joining a club.

“When people take the step beyond having a social game or have a hit at the local range and joining a club, it makes our club’s stronger and the sport healthier.”

Meanwhile, Sydney golfers have launched a petition to stop Clover Moore bulldozing nine holes at Moore Park. You can support the club’s fight to remain a thriving 18-hole facility here: