The last golfers played a round at Lawson in 2002. Now, some 17 years later, council has approved a master plan which secures areas for dogs, walkers and BMX bikers, as well as preserving many of the natural environmental features.
South Lawson Bushcare group, which has a long history of rehabilitating the area, welcomed the plan but dog walkers, who have for years meandered along the old fairways, were unimpressed that a fence will be erected.
Peter Ardill, from the Bushcare group, addressed the recent monthly council meeting, saying the plan provided "increased protection for Lawson Creek", which had suffered erosion problems in recent years.
Mr Ardill said there were also plans for a Mid Mountains arboretum on the site and the potential to consult with the traditional owners to incorporate Indigenous plants.
He said the plan was "diverse but not over-developed".
But the reaction among dog owners was not as positive. David Templeman, who brings his dog to the golf course from Springwood, said the plans "will spoil one of the great grassroots areas in the community".
He said erecting a fence threatened to create an area "where aggressive and social misbehaviour is common".
Geoffrey Spence, from Wentworth Falls, said an enormous number of people "use it and enjoy it as it is... In peak times, I couldn't even keep count of the numbers of dogs there."
But Cr Romola Hollywood who, with fellow ward two councillors Brent Hoare and Chris Van der Kley, supported the master plan, said it would deliver new and improved recreational facilities as well as provide better environmental protection for Lawson Creek and the surrounding bushland.
"The master plan balances a variety of existing and new uses. It creates a permanent home for the much-loved dog off-leash area, maintains the BMX facility, creates children's bike paths, accessible walking paths and new picnic areas," Cr Hollywood said.
Members of the Lawson Dog Park Walkers Facebook page called for more consultation over the plan.
Cr Hollywood said there will be opportunities for discussion on the details of fencing design and alignment of the proposed three-hectare off-leash area.
"The dog off-leash area will also include a water play area, shaded walks and an purpose-designed area for smaller dogs," she said.
Mr Ardill thanked the councillors for their support and said he believed consultation on the master plan had been "very inclusive".
Fellow Bushcare member, Erst Carmichael, said the plan was a "very good outcome" for the environment.
See a video of South Lawson's Bushcare work here.