Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke signaled the start of upgrade work at Cootamundra Country Club today, turning the first sod of a $1.35 million project.

The upgrades will see the construction of a new machinery shed, installation of an automated irrigation system for the golf course and the construction of pathways around the course.

Ms Cooke said turning the first sod was an honour which she was delighted to be asked to perform.

“I know how much this upgrade project means to all the members of Cootamundra Country Club and how much work it took from a lot of people to get to this stage,” Ms Cooke said.

“So to be able to officially mark the start of work here today is a particular honour for me.

“This club plays a key role in the social and sporting fabric of the Cootamundra community, and I can’t wait to see how these upgrades make that role even more special,” Ms Cooke added.

Simon Bragg of the Cootamundra Country Club committee said the upgrades will provide a boost not only for the club but for the whole town.

“The sod turn marks the start of work on a new machinery shed for storing lawnmowers and tractors, after which we will install a new automated irrigation system,” Mr Bragg said.

“Once that is complete we can start work on the final phase, the installation of the pathways, and it should all be completed by the end of September.

“The hope is that we can get some seniors championships – Golf NSW has indicated to us that they will endeavor to run some seniors tournaments for women and men.

“Once you’ve got a really good golf course playable for 12 months of the year, that attracts people.

“Towns have got to have these sorts of facilities into the future, to draw people out of the cities.”

The funding was part of a $3.88 million package secured as a 2017 by-election promise by Ms Cooke in tandem with a $1.9 million cash injection to cover costs associated with the formation of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council.