Palmer on course to set Port Douglas swinging
MINING giant Clive Palmer has revealed big plans for his latest golf course at Port Douglas, including employing more staff.
The former Sea Temple golf course is to be renamed Palmer Sea Reef and becomes the fourth course in his Palmer Golf portfolio.
The billionaire bought the 6125m, par 71 course, clubhouse, bar, pro golf shop and 44 residential lots from the troubled Juniper Group for about $7 million in November last year.
Palmer Golf managing director Angie Ison said the acquisition would "prove to be a shot in the arm for the region".
She said they hoped to retain most staff and "create more jobs" for functions, lunches, weddings and other activities at the clubhouse.
Mrs Ison said a management agreement with the Accor hotel group ended next month.
She said the company would be using its clout with the three other courses on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts to market the region.
"We are already looking at ways of strengthening the course's position in the marketplace and investigating the possibility of hosting tournaments at Palmer Sea Reef, which will be very exciting for everyone," Mrs Ison said.
She said residents would be encouraged to play golf and join the club as part of the plans to be "an integral part of the local community as well as attracting tourists".
Membership would include the other three courses and it was hoped to keep course fees about the same, Mrs Ison said.
She said marketing and selling the 44 premium residential housing allotments lining the course would start soon.
Mrs Ison said Palmer Golf needed to highlight that the course designed by Thomson, Wolveridge and Perret was the only tropical links course in the world.
Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce president Phoebe Kitto said it was encouraging to see new and private investment in the town.
"Clive Palmer doesn't do anything lightly and I do believe he does see the potential of Port Douglas," she said.
She said Port Douglas was ideal for people from the south to play golf during the winter.
"But we still have a lot more to do to attract more and the right investments," Ms Kitto said.
She said Mr Palmer hoped to speak at a chamber lunch in March.
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Fairway to heaven: Clive Palmer is the new owner of the world's only tropical links golf course to be known as Palmer Sea Reef.