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Hauraki-Coromandel Post - 2021-06-10

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Golf revenue surge drives upgrades

Sport

Don Mackay

Ayear on from the anxious weeks of forced closure due to Covid-19, Whangamata Golf Club is experiencing a boom. Golf courses across NZ have been ultra-busy after the global Covid crisis and Whangamata is no exception, said president Terry Wilson. This has increased revenue from green fees, membership, golf shop turnover and at the bar, and the financial boost has allowed the club to undertake new projects. “There’s an awful lot going on at the Whangamata Golf Club,” Terry told a recent, packed special general meeting of the club. Terry urged the club to move forward as one with a longterm tree project, upgrading and maintenance of the Titoki and Williamson clubrooms, establishing electric power supply to the new water bore, the purchase of new mowers and resealing the Titoki carpark. The club has the Titoki 18-hole course on the edge of town and Williamson nine-hole course in the heart of Whangamata. The meeting focus was about informing, getting views and support from members and giving them an understanding of the level of spending involved and the related funding. Green fees have increased by almost 50 per cent and Terry said memberships have risen by some 10 per cent over the past year. Green fee numbers were at 20,000 a year. “That’s a significant number of people coming to Whangamata getting accommodation and playing golf,” he said. The increased interest was driving forward plans to review where the club was going and the product that was being delivered to users. “The Whangamata Golf Club board and management is asking, what should the Titoki and Williamson golf courses look like in 25 years?” Terry said. The initial step of the long-term tree project will be the removal of numerous exotic trees, mainly pines, gums and poplars. He said many of these trees were planted years ago as they were fastgrowing and established quickly. However, many are now surplus, strangling each other and the native trees that need room to flourish, and pose health and safety risks due to their age and the regular occurrence of falling branches. Replacement trees — principally natives — will be planted to turn both golf courses into the best possible venues and encourage native birds and flora. He said during this first step there will be some disruptions to course operations but these will be managed to minimise impact. Both Titoki and Williamson clubrooms need upgrading, with concept plans including essential maintenance. The buildings do not need substantial structural changes. The new water bore system at Titoki needs a specific electricity supply. And while the greenkeepers have lovingly nurtured the existing mowers for rough and green areas, they have come to the end of their economic life, the meeting heard. The Titoki carpark needs resurfacing and marking out, as numerous potholes have appeared. Strategies were presented to members about how to fund these projects, along with clubhouse concept plans, prepared by local design and decor store Palette with contributions from several club members. This well-presented and detailed meeting gained unanimous approval to proceed with all project plans. The investment in these projects will position the club not only to provide an even better golfing experience for members and visitors, but also to become an even more valuable community asset for hosting events such as weddings, funerals and workshops and other local club meetings such as the bridge and mahjong. Terry thanked and congratulated the golf club board, management team, club members and the Whangamata community for developing and embracing these forward-thinking plans.

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