Portsea, Sorrento golf club merger hits the rough

Just as both clubs were teeing off on the idea, Portsea members have been alerted to an issue regarding combustible cladding as a result of a statewide audit by the Victorian Government.An email was sent following a statewide audit by the Victorian Government.“The cladding on our building has been determined to be combustible and therefore poses a moderate risk,” read the carefully worded email sent to members late last Friday by Portsea Golf Club president Maree Smith.“We are liaising with the relevant authorities and exploring all options regarding right of appeal, and potential compensation.”For those who don’t know the run of the green, Sorrento is the course for the upper crusters.Those who park their Range Rovers at Sorrento include Mark Mentha of Korda Mentha fame, former Qantas boss Ken Ryan and several members of the Fox clan.Down the highway at Portsea it’s your more rugged types such as ex-Carlton champ Mark Maclure, Hawthorn premiership captain Don Scott, former Herald Sun sports scribe Mike Sheahan and radio host Steve Price.Depending on who you talk to it goes along the lines of “Portsea are the cowboys, Sorrento are the snobs.”At Sorrento it’s more like “We don’t need that riffraff over at our club.” At the heart of the merger idea was disappointment at a lack of tee times in peak periods by Sorrento members.They figured they should be able to mosey on over to Portsea and get on there.Sharing management and green keepers made sense to the Portsea punters, who liked the idea of eating the better food and drinking the better wine on offer at Sorrento.Some of the bridge-playing ladies at Sorrento had their noses out of joint at the thought of Portsea’s supposedly unwashed disrupting their high teas.Now the cladding issue could become a bridge too far.Sorrento Golf Club general manager Michael Burgess told Page 13 the cladding issue would of course come under consideration regarding any merger.“It’s certainly something we are keeping a pretty close eye on,” Burgess said on Friday.“We don’t know the extent of the expense for a start, it could range from well, you name it to be honest. We need a bit more information around the terms of time it needs to be replaced and also costing.”But Burgess was hopeful the two clubs would eventually tee off together.“We are trying to focus on the end task and we know that the cultures will blend together over time.”Getting a 75 per cent approval from members of both great clubs is a tough call.“The reality is we have got 1700 members and Portsea have got a big membership base,” says Burgess and “everyone is entitled to their opinion.”One thing is certain. No one is ever short of an opinion down at the 19th hole.

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