The Latrobe golfing community has learnt to live with inevitable flooding from the Yarra River, committed to the opinion that it is the heart of the golf course.
The river runs along the outskirts of Latrobe, providing irrigation water for the course. However the Yarra is not always a charm, according to Superintendent Scott Irving.
“If the river gets too high we flood,” he said. “The last flood we had here was in February 2011, and the whole course went under. We lost everything bar four greens and had to close for three weeks.”
Although the club receives flood warnings from trigger points in the river, it is still inevitably difficult to prepare and recover from flooding.
“When the river goes down again and the water comes off the course, we flush everything. We have to syringe all the greens, push all the dirt off and start mowing again,” said Mr Irving.
“We’re constantly in touch with Melbourne Water and the bureau of meteorology for any flood warnings,” said General Manager Rod Haines. “It’s quite a process removing any important structures off the course prior to flooding,” he added.
Located between the 14th tee and the 12th green lies ‘The Demons Dunny’, where all previous flood levels are recorded in plaques on the toilet wall. It was built by and named after Melbourne Football Star Geoff McGivern, who played for the Demons from 1951 to 1956.
The multi-talented footballer was also a member of the Latrobe club until his recent passing in 2015. ‘The Demons Dunny’ is recognised as an important structure of the course in acting as a visual record point post-flooding.
To the Latrobe Golf Club community, the Yarra River is the “life source” of the course – not only for its maintenance benefits, but also it’s addition beauty.
Although the water quality itself is “pretty poor”, the Yarra still provides a “beautiful backdrop” to the course.
“I think that having a water course around a piece of land where the public and members can walk around and see just adds to the ambience and beauty of the place,” said Mr Haines.
The Latrobe golf club has approximately 1200 members and has been running since 1948, prior to which it was known as the Alphington Golf Club.
Even though course flooding remains inevitable, the Latrobe golfing community continues to prevail in coinciding with the Yarra River.