Date: September 07, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Fire guts Nelson Bay clubhouse

The Nelson Bay Golf Club is without its hub after fire all but destroyed the clubhouse at the weekend.

The clubhouse, originally built in 1963 but with several additions through the years, suffered extensive damage with club president Max Pride telling members today that “it may well have to be demolished”.

Parts of the balcony, the pro shop, motorised cart storage and members’ club and buggy storage room appear to have escaped severe damage, but Pride said they remain unsafe.

Fire and police investigations are ongoing and there is no access to the club car park, while the golf course, which escaped largely untouched, is closed until authorities permit people back on site.

Pride said all social group bookings for Monday and Tuesday had been transferred to the nearby Horizons Golf Club.

“Our priority is to have the golf course operating and to do the best for our staff and contractors,” Pride wrote to members today.

“Our insurance company will be assisting with this, including the sourcing of temporary accommodation from which the pro shop, administration (and) bar and catering can operate.”

Nelson Bay GC, east, the scheduled host for the 2018 Australian Women’s Senior Championship, is home to almost 3500 members, including about 1500 playing members.

Pride said the fire had been “devastating”, but vowed the club would bounce back.

Fire crews were called to the club shortly after midnight on Saturday and remained at the scene for most of Sunday to help extinguish spot fires with the blaze suspected to have started in the roof.

The Newcastle Herald reported that firefighters were forced to withdraw from inside the club as flames “shot through the roof cavity, collapsing large sections on to what was once the club’s bar, auditorium, office and poker machine areas”.

The club has 35 employees, while the associated Blue Water Grill restaurant also provided work for more than 20 people seasonally, the newspaper reported.

“This event has had a tremendous impact on everyone involved with our club,” Pride said.

“Thank you for your messages of support and I have absolutely no doubt that we will all work together and get through this devastating event.

“Sadly we have lost a lot of history and seen a lot of work by many people literally go up in smoke.

“On the good side, no one was injured and I must pay a tribute to the emergency services staff for their work and assistance.”