Waterford Golf Club is to proceed with a major development of its course and facilities at a cost of up to $2.6 million, provided the money can reasonably be raised by the sale of surplus land.

That was decided by 126 votes to 113 at an extraordinary general meeting of members in the Granville Hotel last night (Thursday). Provided the sale price is right, the project will be funded by disposing of a portion of “Purcell’s Field” adjoining the eighth fairway, although a 60 metre buffer zone must be retained outside the course boundary. An extra €560,000 will be raised by the same means to clear an outstanding clubhouse refurbishment loan.

The development, details of which were outlined at two earlier information meetings, will include the installation of sand based greens and tee boxes and an irrigation system, security measures and, probably, a new entrance and practice ground.

The members will have an opportunity to sanction or reject elements of the plan as time elapses but it is anticipated that proposals for extension of the par three 9th hole to a par 4 and shortening of the par five 11th to a par 4 will be abandoned. A proposal for water features may also go by the wayside while the creation of some fairway bunkers are likely to meet with approval.

The plan has been devised by Brannigan Golf Course Architects.

Club Captain Peter Finnegan told last night’s meeting that the members would have a choice between having all the construction work carried out quickly – over a 16 to 18 week period – or doing it over a long stretch of time. He favoured the former and it is most likely the members will agree.

He said the earliest the job could be done would be the late summer and autumn of 2009 and neighbouring clubs had agreed to facilitate the members during the period of reconstruction at favourable green fee charges. Subscription fees are to be reduced to help towards that cost.

Temporary greens and tee boxes would also be developed for use outside of the four month term of construction work.

Mr. Finnegan further stated that if the members plumped for a “fast” job option, he envisaged that all of the club’s major competitions would be completed early, before the work started in 2009 and late, after the surface had settled, in 2010. That is provided there are no unforeseen hitches.

There were suggestions by some prominent members that, with the course set to be “squeezed” by surrounding residential developments, giving rise to consequential security concerns, the possibility of selling up and moving to a green site location should be examined. But the majority decided otherwise.