everley Park Golf Club faced a crisis 12 months ago. Its golf course was undergoing a partial renovation to guard the surrounding residential area against the 1-in-a-100 year flood.

A stormwater overflow channel was being created, forcing the reconfiguration of six holes. It meant the public-access course on reclaimed land near Kogarah Bay in Sydney’s south had been turned into a construction zone.

On the club’s recommendation, Georges River Council (previously Kogarah Council) appointed Sydney-based architect James Wilcher of Golf By Design to integrate the stormwater overflow channel into the golf course as effectively as possible. Meanwhile, temporary greens and tees were introduced to preserve an 18-hole layout (which reverted to a par 61) while the disruption occurred.

The Beverley Park Channel Project was something the club had to endure to meet a requirement of Federal, State and Local government to address flood mitigation for residents in Ferry Avenue.

While $1.3 million in government grants funded the works, it was a very testing time for a club that celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016. The inconvenience was a financial disaster, projected to reach $350,000 and beyond. The club lost $111,576 in subscription revenue when 155 members resigned on masse, clearly irritated by the prospect of playing on temporary greens and an undersized course for 12 months.

Green fee revenue fell substantially along with turnover in the clubhouse, leading to the resignation of the caterers. In the golf shop, club professional Greg Green retrenched his staff and became accustomed to working 75-hour weeks in order to make ends meet.

The impact has been significant on the club’s and our contractors’ trading with a downturn in participation and subsequent revenue, said a boardroom report to members.

It is obvious that the efforts of the board and staff to provide members with an 18-hole course during the six-month project period was not good enough for 20 per cent of the membership and public players who abandoned the rest of us.

Beverley Park Buzzing

Twelve months later and pain has turned to pleasure. Beverley Park opened its revamped 18-hole layout (5,570 metres, par 70) in September with Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison in attendance.

What surprised most has been the reaction. The new holes have added character to what was a rather unfashionable public-access course. Many of the departed members have returned. Social play has increased significantly, including visits by members of The Australian, The Lakes and New South Wales. They were said to have come away impressed by the design, aesthetics and conditioning.

Golfers have universally praised Wilcher’s work, which features water on five of the new holes plus a double green (1st and 17th). The pick is the second hole, a devilishly tricky par 3 of 153 metres, where the stormwater channel runs along the left-hand side of the green and out into a pond behind the putting surface. Two bunkers on the right effectively give the impression of a green surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped hazard.

Beverley Park is now flourishing. Most telling has been the buoyant atmosphere and pride around the club. Sometimes it’s true – you can turn a lemon into lemonade.

• Rohan Clarke has been a member of Beverley Park Golf Club for the past 32 years.