Discussions over the future of one of the oldest golf courses in NSW, rediscovered on the Far South Coast, have raised the idea of having it heritage listed.
After a golf enthusiast stumbled across the overgrown golf course in Kameruka earlier this year, discussions with other golf industry professionals have stirred around trying to preserve it.
However, not everyone is pleased with this idea, including the owner of the property, Barry Moffitt.
Having lived next door to the property all his life and worked on renovations around Kameruka Estate since buying it in 2018, Mr Moffitt said the golf industry proponents don't realise the level of work it would require and how expensive it would be.
Golfing enthusiast Paul Carter, who ventured out to see the course for himself, had been so mesmerised by the course's layout and style that he immediately reached out to the president of Society of Australian Golf Course Architects, Harley Kruse.
Mr Kruse has been in the golf course designing industry for 30 years and said he had rarely seen anything like it in Australia.
"This golf course is what we call Victorian Penal golf course architecture and there wasn't much of it built in Australia. What was built, a lot of it has been lost," Mr Kruse said.
"It is very special and it is something that needs to be brought back to life and preserved," he added.
Noting the historical and structural value of the overgrown course, both Mr Carter and Mr Kruse felt they needed to push for a heritage listing, to preserve it.
"The course has been lying dormant for over a decade and needs restoration to bring it back to its amazing stature in Australian golf," Mr Carter said.
"Before that restoration can occur the course requires heritage preservation," he added.
Mr Carter said they were fearful unrestrained actions may see the golfing treasure disappear and that in their discussions with Mr Moffitt, they had seen little interest in preserving the course.
As a result they have resolved to appeal to the Bega Valley Shire Council to get the course heritage listed.
Due to COVID restrictions, they have had to reschedule their meeting with the council set for July 14, to September 15.
Mr Moffitt argued that he has had no conversations with the golf enthusiasts regarding heritage listing.
"Well they haven't come to approach me to talk this over, we did have some earlier meetings and next thing I know, the council's ringing me."
Mr Moffitt had accommodated Mr Carter's wish to drive around the old paddock and look at the course, not just once but twice when Mr Kruse and Adrian Logue came to visit as well.
Mr Moffitt said he shared an appreciation for the value and history of the estate.
"We're fixing up houses, sheds, getting rid of the lovegrass, fixing up blacksmith shops - there's a lot on the other side of Kameruka that needs attention and I'm giving it my fullest," Mr Moffitt said.
"I think they're getting overexcited. Golf courses and bowling clubs, they're all very hard to run."
Mr Moffitt said he had done a few projects in his life and that everything has to pay for itself.
"It's very expensive to get it back to where it could be and how many people are going to come?
"They'll all come the first year, its like a honeymoon period. Then they'll come twice the second year and once the third year and then it levels out," he said.
Mr Moffitt pointed out that he had seen a lot of local golf courses and bowling clubs struggle and believed it would be hard to hold up.
"I've been here all my life watching things develop and go, why they do go and why they don't go, and sometimes people get a little too excited."
Mr Moffitt is currently using the paddock where the course was for his cows to graze.
"Well it's full of lovegrass which is a real shame, but that's how it was when I bought it. We've got cattle on it, which keeps it under control," he said.
When asked what should be done with the golf course, Mr Moffitt said "just leave it up to me, I do know what I'm doing".
Bega Valley Genealogy Society supports restoration idea
Bega Valley Genealogy Society president Elizabeth McIntyre said she was delighted to hear of the interest in the course by the golf industry professionals.
"I think it is a wonderful idea [restoring it] plus it's something for our shire, for tourism, and it's promoting our area," Ms McIntyre said.
"These professionals were saying that they have colleagues all around the world who will be willing and want to come play on this golf course because of what it is.
"It is a gem, it is the only one and our shire has it so we've got to try and preserve it."