Golf Industry Central Spring 2012 - Page 24

A whole new range In Sydney, what was once one man’s quarry is now another man’s state-of-the-art golfing facility. By David Newbery PGA Golf professional Steve Aisbett’s eye for opportunity has come to fruition with the recent opening of the two-level, 56 driving hitting bays Thornleigh Golf Centre. A proactive, entrepreneurial AAA-rated golf professional, Aisbett has had his eye on the quarry cum brick works site on Pennant Hills Road for more than 20 years. “ “ “we are trying to make it a family-friendly environment” “I first looked at this site in 1989, but when I approached the Hornsby Shire Council they said they wanted to fill it in,” Aisbett said. “It was an old quarry, which serviced the area for 90 years. They made bricks for all of the northern suburbs from this site.” Aisbett still wanted to acquire the site, but he needed to earn a living and took on the head pro’s job at Dubbo Golf Club. “I was there for 15 years and moved back here in 2007,” he said. “I started negotiating with the council again and it took me two years to get them to the tender process. “We went through the tender process, which I won and then it took another year to design the complex. “I renegotiated with the council for a better deal and then there was 18 months of construction.” In many ways, Aisbett has come full circle. In the late 1980s, he and Mike Kelly owned and operated a golf driving range at Cherrybrook in Sydney. It was a typically older-style driving range that required hard work, oftentimes in difficult conditions. “We used to go and pick up golf balls late at night in the rain and mud,” Aisbett explained. “One night Mike and I looked at e