Cocos Islands international airport runway doubles as part of local golf course


Posted

June 23, 2019 08:15:09

The international runway is a focus of exercise on the Cocos Islands.

With area at a premium, the police station, college, climate workplace and lots of houses sit alongside the touchdown spot for plane that repeatedly fly in from Perth and Christmas Island.

And from a small blue shack dubbed The Donga, which sits subsequent to the council workplaces and airport terminal, operates the Cocos Islands Golf Club.

It may not have luxurious membership rooms or rolling fairways, however the locals are fiercely proud of it — round half of West Island’s 120 residents are members.

“As far as we’re aware, it is certainly the only [golf club] in Australia that can play over an international runway, and probably the last one in the world that can play over an international runway,” membership secretary Aaron Taaffe stated.

Access to the runway space dates again to the membership’s formation in 1962, when the airstrip was run by the Defence Force.

The Cocos Islands have lengthy been strategically important — an airstrip was constructed there in 1942 by British forces as a base for bomber and fighter planes in World War II.

A decade later, Qantas started utilizing it as a refuelling cease on the so-called Wallaby route between Sydney and Johannesburg.

“Provided the club played within the timetable of Defence flights, it wasn’t an issue to play across the runway,” Mr Taaffe stated.

“As time’s gone on, it’s just been one of those things that’s been kept up.”

Business hours on the islands are 7:00am to three:00pm, and with temperatures hovering between 25 and 30 levels all 12 months spherical, a day on the golf course is a well-liked pastime, particularly when the commerce winds cool the air between May and October.

Visitors could be greatly surprised by the sight of golfers casually teeing off on the fallacious aspect of warning indicators and pulling their carts throughout the tarmac.

But stringent guidelines are in place.

“Before we set out and play, we have to get approval from the runway staff and the airport management,” Mr Taaffe stated.

“Within sure marked areas we will cross the runway after which come again throughout these runways.

“You cannot pause on the runway, you may’t take photographs on the runway.

“You travel as a group, so when 30 of us are playing golf, we have to travel as a group across the runway and travel back as one group.”

The space is definitely out of bounds until you are ; guests cannot take a stroll across the course or cross the runway for enjoyable.

Lost golf balls additionally pose a danger.

“If your ball lands too close to the runway, then you have to declare that as an out-of-bounds lost ball and report it to the runway staff so they know to look out for it,” Mr Taaffe stated.

“If your ball lands on the runway, then you have to report it so the airport staff can look out for and remove it from harm’s way.”

On the far aspect of the runway, overlooking the lagoon, sits the Meteorological Office.

Officer-in-charge Alana-Jayne Moore continuously encounters golfers and misplaced balls when she’s outdoors checking devices — one of the holes is simply close by.

“You have to keep an eye out if you’re outside doing something and the golfers come past that you don’t get hit by a ball,” she stated, laughing.

“It’s an attention-grabbing workplace to be subsequent to a runway and surrounded by a golf course … however it may be entertaining.

“There have been a pair of instances after I’ve been right here and so they pop in, often to make use of the toilet.”

While the structure is flatter than most programs, it by no means will get boring.

“It’s a very challenging course, mainly because of our synthetic greens — that changes the dynamic of how you play golf,” Mr Taaffe stated.

“We cannot basically hit a second shot or third shot onto a inexperienced as you usually can on a grass inexperienced.

“We truly have to land quick and roll up, so in that regard it is a very difficult course.”

It’s definitely fashionable; whereas half of West Island’s residents are members, annually round 650 guests to the islands additionally play a spherical.

Some vacationers even make the journey purely to expertise the distinctive course, Mr Taaffe stated.

“We have one massive open occasion a 12 months, which isn’t uncommon for basically a regional or a rustic course, however as a result of we’re within the center of the Indian Ocean, that by itself turns into a bit of a drawcard.

“We are one of essentially the most remoted golf programs on the earth.

“The subsequent nearest golf course to us is Christmas Island, which is over 1,000 kilometres away, and the subsequent nearest one to that will be Jakarta, which is one other 1,000 kilometres away.

“It’s a fantastic course, it is quite a bit of enjoyable, we have got grass fairways and we have got a fantastic backdrop.”

Topics:

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travel-and-tourism,

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