The following photo shows Twin Towns Facilities Manager, Bob McCowan, proudly displaying his 30 years golf service recognition plaque after receiving it from the Club Banora Golf Club President, Ken Culpitt.
The President read the following citation prior to presenting Bob with his recognition.
I am taking this opportunity tonight to say a special thank you from the golf club members of the past 30 years to a man who has been part of the Golf course development from inception to today. I refer to the Twin Towns facilities Manager, Bob McCowan.
In 1979 Al Howard designed the golf course. Bob had the honour of working closely with Al from the outset.
Any discussion of early days needs to recognise the vision and commitment of Twin Towns Services Club then President Mick Winders to community facilities at Banora point. Mick ceremonially hit the first competition ball in June 1983.
It is easy to understand that to build a golf course from a large swamp was nothing but hard work.
Bob was on the end of a tape that was used to measure every land mark on the course. This included walking in the swamp to mark drains using extra-long pegs into the deeper areas of the swamp so they could be seen.
Bob tells me that all the greens had to be built to a level above flooding and recent discussion reinforces that the course and its drainage was dictated by the peat base and lower level marine mud.
Bob worked on construction the fairways, tees and greens starting in 1982. He also had a role with the “half-way house” constructed on an island in a large lake area. The “house” was for the golfers and completed in 1984. It remains a critical aspect of golfer enjoyment today.
The story of Club Banora Golf Course is one of repeating wet and dry sagas. Bob helped resolve them all. Flooding in the early 90s dictated some serious course rework.
The most dramatic flooding was the last week of June 2005.
At that time Bob was Course Superintendent and at 6am he received a call from Kevin Hennessy, Club General Manager of pending flooding. Bob tells me that by the time he arrived at the course water was lapping the maintenance shed and the course was starting to disappear. A few hours later there was two feet of water in his office and the entire 50 hectare golf course site was covered.
The course remained below water for six days and Bob is reported as saying that it was the worst course incident that he could recall in 15 years of the course. The new irrigation system installed in late 2004 was totally destroyed.
It was a time where Bob and his team delivered their best. Four pumps were set up and a million litres of water removed each hour. The exercise took six days. The greens emerged from the receding water – three the first day and then eight the next. Bob immediately commenced the clean-up process although he needed to borrow the fishing club tinny to get to and from the exposed greens. A massive amount of silt was deposited on the course but the least pleasant aspect of the clean-up was removing the decaying fish that covered the course.
The hours of work on the June 2005 flood highlighted Bob’s dedication to the course and also demonstrated his ingenuity. Bob had the course back in playing condition within eighteen days. The golf members of the day still marvel at what he and his team were able to achieve so quickly.
The dry also provided challenges and by 2010 course cracking was a regular feature of any long dry and windy period.
The past dry summer set in train a sequence of events that resulted in the centre of the course being closed.
Again Bob was at the forefront managing the most substantial of change.
In one week of March an 18 Holes golf course was converted to a 9 Holes configuration, selecting the Holes that held the longest term viability. It was a task for many hands.
By 5 July a more permanent configuration of dual tees and eleven greens was open for competition.
The recurring theme is that Bob and the course standard that he and his team delivers is always of high quality and for the benefit of the golfers.
Working with Bob is a pleasure and he shows terrific support and co-operation to our Captains who are equally working for the benefit of members.
In 2014 I am fortunate to be the President at the time of you Bob completing 30 years of service to golf at Club Banora. On behalf of the over 10,000 Twin Towns Members and countless visitors who have enjoyed the Golf Course across the 30 years – thank you.
I would appreciate it if you could come forward and accept a small gift to recognise your achievement.