With new owners, a talented new chef at the helm and an exciting vision, the future for the Curlewis Golf Course is shining bright.
Voted as one of the top-100 golf courses in Australia, the “emerald of the Bellarine” could soon be the go-to place to enjoy a round of golf and feast on local produce while staying in eco-friendly accommodation.
Lyndsay and David Sharp, who also own other iconic Bellarine businesses Jack Rabbit Vineyard, Leura Park Estate and Flying Brick Cider Co, took over the reins of the golf club in July last year, following a majority vote by members in favour of their formal proposal.
The beautiful, challenging course is popular with locals and Melbourne golfers. Plans are under way to redevelop the clubhouse and its dining facilities, and the couple is looking at building accommodation.
Lyndsay and David are known for their passion for the Bellarine Peninsula. Lyndsay said they decided to throw their hat in the ring as potential buyers “because it is such a special course and community amenity”.
“It deserves to be cherished now and into the future for young and old to enjoy – for golf, exercise, friendship, dining and fun as well as helping to attract tourists to our wonderful region.”
The couple had sponsored the golf course for many years and approached the club when they heard it was struggling.
“We couldn’t bear the possibility of it being taken over by a developer and chopped up, so we contacted the committee of management to see if we could provide support in some way to keep it going and it went on from there.”
Under the direction of David and the course superintendent Rob Bradley, improvements to the course are under way and will continue to be rolled out to ensure Curlewis extends its status as a premier 18-hole golf course.
“Exciting plans are also in the pipeline for a massive redevelopment of the clubhouse, which include small-scale eco accommodation in the future,” Lyndsay said.
“The clubhouse is warm and inviting with a spectacular outlook over the course and bay and great food, which is there to be enjoyed by all – not just golfers.
“Whether it be for amazing cakes (head chef Tara Thyer’s patisserie skills are awesome!), coffee, lunch or, in the not-too-distant future, weekend and event dinners as well, Tara is a very talented chef and we are delighted to have her on board.”
Hailing from the UK, Tara, who has been a chef for nearly 30 years, started at the golf course late last year. Before that she was the pastry chef at the RACV Torquay Resort and, before that, spent 11 years at Le Parisien restaurant in Geelong.
“It was something I enjoyed doing at school and it progressed from that,” Tara said of her love for cooking. “It’s the creative side of it I enjoy, mixing the colours, the flavours – the whole package really.”
After completing her training in the UK, Tara worked across England, including the Cotswolds and Sussex, mainly in fine-dining restaurants and hotels, before making the move to Australia in 2000.
The clubhouse caters for 150 diners and has a contemporary bistro atmosphere.
Tara said that while the menu was pretty basic at the moment, changes were on the horizon. They include a focus on local, seasonal, fresh ingredients, more pastries on the menu and desserts to come soon.
At the moment, diners can enjoy lunch in the clubhouse or sample some of Tara’s cakes and pastries over coffee, seven days a week. And you don’t have to be teeing off to enjoy a meal or a coffee and cake, because the clubhouse open to the public.
The clubhouse caters for functions, including weddings, which can be held indoors or in outdoor entertaining areas overlooking the golf course and Corio Bay. There are long-term plans for the bistro to be open for dinner over the weekends.
Popular lunch menu items include the ploughman’s lunch ($14) and warm chicken salad ($14) as well as steak sandwiches ($16) and burgers ($16).
Lemon meringue tarts, chocolate brownies and an assortment of cakes start from $4, to tempt the sweet tooth.
“It’s a good challenge; there are big plans. I think that’s why I took it on,” Tara said.
Curlewis Golf Club, 1345 Portarlington Road, Curlewis, is open seven days a week for lunch from 11am to 3pm. For more information, phone 5251 2534 or visit curlewisgolf.com.au