Dog on the Move

Main New Zealand hyperlinks golf course ‘gone to the canine’


A number one skilled golfer as soon as rated Invercargill’s Oreti Sands alongside hyperlinks programs used for British Open tournaments. Now simply the ghosts of its {golfing} previous stay. Logan Savory studies.

Combined feelings floor on the uncommon event Michael Horn now visits the previous Oreti Sands golf course.

For nearly 5 a long time the 60 hectares of land close to Invercargill’s Oreti Seashore may have been regarded Horn’s second residence. Because it was for a lot of of his {golfing} mates for that matter.

Horn was an everyday on the course from the day it opened in 1971 till 47 years later when Oreti Sands, as a golf course no less than, closed.

READ MORE:
* By the numbers: Flying Ryan Fox joins small group of Kiwis in elite firm
* Ryan Fox soars to career-best world rating, pipped to Irish Open title by history-making Pole
* New era of Kiwi golfers searching Eisenhower Trophy glory

In actual fact, Horn was the Southland Golf Membership’s president in 2018 when it determined to not renew its lease with the Invercargill Metropolis Council and shut up store.

It was a choice that successfully closed the world’s southernmost hyperlinks course; a course many international golf publications had ranked in New Zealand’s high 20 programs.

It was imagined to be a course that would offer a tourism alternative for Invercargill.

As an alternative, 4 years on, simply the ghosts of its {golfing} previous stay.

The former Oreti Sands golf course in 2002, four years after its closure.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

The previous Oreti Sands golf course in 2002, 4 years after its closure.

The greens at the moment are unrecognisable, and the fairways are in a ragged state. Though the council does nonetheless give the golf green areas a trim to make sure they don’t return to their overgrown pure state. It’s a transfer that’s led to a well-liked new use for the reserve land.

Extra on that to come back.

The dated clubhouse nonetheless stands proudly metres away from the vanished 18th inexperienced the place golfers as soon as holed their ultimate putt of the day.

Slots for golfers handy of their scorecards nonetheless stay on the clubhouse 4 years after the membership’s closure. As do indicators pointing to automotive parks designated for Southland Golf Membership officers.

The slots for golfers to hand their cards in remain at the old Southland Golf Club clubhouse despite the Oreti Sands golf course being closed for four years.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

The slots for golfers handy their playing cards in stay on the outdated Southland Golf Membership clubhouse regardless of the Oreti Sands golf course being closed for 4 years.

Different messages stay hooked up to the clubhouse, one advises the now non-existent golfers that there’s to be no play earlier than 10.30am due to frost on the course.

“It prompts a number of reminiscences doesn’t it,” Horns says concerning the signage.

Most likely probably the most ironic message remaining reminds golfers that no canine are allowed. It’s ironic as a result of what was as soon as the world’s southernmost hyperlinks golf course is now doggy heaven.

When the Southland Golf Membership selected to not renew its lease in 2018 with the Invercargill Metropolis Council the council was left with some pondering.

A choice was wanted as to what to do with the reserve land nestled in amongst the sand dunes at Sandy Level.

Signs remain at the former Southland Golf Club, which point to the car parks designated for certain club officials.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

Indicators stay on the former Southland Golf Membership, which level to the automotive parks designated for sure membership officers.

It known as for expressions of curiosity.

All the things from a house for nudists to a drag racing observe was recommended for the world.

The then Southern Institute of Expertise chief govt Penny Simmonds considered the vacant course as a possibility.

She sparked an try and retain the hyperlinks course and set up a turf administration course to be run there.

The plan was to focus on the Asian marketplace for worldwide college students.

Professional golfer Greg Turner playing the seventh hole at Oreti Sands in 2005. [File photo].

Barry Harcourt/Stuff

Skilled golfer Greg Turner taking part in the seventh gap at Oreti Sands in 2005. [File photo].

SIT leased Oreti Sands for a yr whereas it pursued the potential for establishing the turf administration course.

The council agreed to mow the fairways to a primary customary whereas the SIT explored its choices.

Nonetheless, Simmonds didn’t have the boldness to proceed. These {golfing} plans got here at a time when the Authorities began its quest to merge New Zealand’s polytechnics into one central entity.

The flickering hope that Oreti Sands would stay a golf course was extinguished.

Though out of that disappointment of a misplaced golf course has emerged one of many extra spectacular canine parks going round, even when it has by no means really formally been labelled a canine park.

It’s now a scorching spot for Invercargill canine house owners. Canines and their house owners roam the deserted 18-hole course in quiet bliss.

The former home to the Southland Golf Club which closed in 2018 is now used by other community groups.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

The previous residence to the Southland Golf Membership which closed in 2018 is now utilized by different group teams.

Emma Owen is likely one of the canine house owners who found the deserted golf course a couple of yr in the past by means of a pal. Owen and her two canine Spud and Frank at the moment are regulars.

“The canine simply like it, they usually all get on so properly. All people could be very pleasant,” Owen says.

“I’ll be trustworthy I used to be feeling a bit down this morning and I assumed, ‘proper, I must get to that canine park’. It simply fills your bucket. We’re so fortunate to have it 10 minutes from city.”

On high of Oreti Sands now unofficially being doggy heaven different group teams additionally entry the house for various occasions. Whether or not it’s the Southland Triathlon and Multisport Membership or the Southland Orienteering Membership, simply to call a pair.

Emma Owen with her dogs Spud, right front, and Frank enjoying a run at the old Oreti Sands golf course at Sandy Point on the outskirts on Invercargill.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

Emma Owen along with her canine Spud, proper entrance, and Frank having fun with a run on the outdated Oreti Sands golf course at Sandy Level on the outskirts on Invercargill.

The as soon as well-respected golf course can be now residence to the Southland Astronomical Society. It’s their dream residence the truth is.

The place golfers as soon as teed off on the par 4 gap one – nervously wanting on the hazard that’s the sand dunes to the left – now sits an observatory for stargazers.

The society has additionally put the previous golf clubrooms to good use. That’s the place they maintain their month-to-month conferences

Southland Astronomical Society Membership president Elizabeth King remembers the day properly when its membership treasurer Bob Evans instructed them the golf membership at Sandy Level was closing.

It prompted a go to.

“We may see the potential the minute we drove up, and it wasn’t being utilized by anybody aside from the golf membership,” King says.

“The sunshine air pollution on the town was horrendous. So being on the outskirts of city you may see the Milky Means in all its glory, it’s phenomenal.

“We couldn’t have requested for a greater location that’s nonetheless in attain of majority of the Southland group.”

Horn – the previous golf membership president – acknowledges there are moments of unhappiness in the course of the instances he has revisited his outdated course because the 2018 closure.

However what softens the blow is the actual fact the general public remains to be getting pleasure from that piece of reserve land. That very same 60 hectares of land that offered him a lot pleasure for almost 50 years.

It hasn’t been fully deserted, and it isn’t overgrown. Horn is grateful for that and paid tribute to the council for making certain that has occurred.

Southland Astronomical Society president Elizabeth King, left, and committee member Joseph Roberts outside the donated observatory which now sits at the old tee-off spot on hole one of the closed-down Oreti sands golf course. [File photo].

Robyn Edie/Stuff

Southland Astronomical Society president Elizabeth King, left, and committee member Joseph Roberts outdoors the donated observatory which now sits on the outdated tee-off spot on gap one of many closed-down Oreti sands golf course. [File photo].

“It’s getting tougher to recognise as a golf course these days. It was an important course. It was an fascinating course to play in true hyperlinks nation.

“[But] you see lots of people use it now to stroll their canine or for basic train, and the clubhouse can be getting used. It’s nice to see.

“It’s not a loss for the folks of Invercargill, it’s simply received a special use now. At any time when I am going down [to Sandy Point] I do know it’s there, and I do know it’s being utilized by different folks, that makes me really feel good.”

One other poignant signal hooked up to the clubhouse that is still intact factors to a previous hope, and in some minds doubtlessly a misplaced alternative.

The signal thanks each the Invercargill Licensing Belief and Group Belief of Southland for funding an Oreti Sands course redevelopment near a decade earlier than it closed.

The signal additionally acknowledges the course re-designers, Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson, who performed a lead function in that venture.

A sign remains attached to the former Southland Golf Club clubhouse which is a reminder of the 2009 Oreti Sands.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

An indication stays hooked up to the previous Southland Golf Membership clubhouse which is a reminder of the 2009 Oreti Sands.

The Invercargill Licensing Belief and the Group Belief of Southland each stumped up $250,000 for the redevelopment. The pitch was that it was supposed to assist appeal to extra guests to Invercargill to play on the world’s southernmost hyperlinks course.

These guests – within the numbers they’d hoped – by no means arrived. Nor did the recommended spin-offs for Invercargill on the whole.

Prime skilled golfers Peter Senior, Peter O’Malley, Mahal Pearce and Peter Fowler performed the course in March 2009 to formally open the redeveloped Oreti Sands.

They dished out loads of reward on the time. Senior went so far as saying the course was just like taking part in on the high hyperlinks programs in Britain.

“What an exquisite piece of land you’ve got received right here,” Senior stated, nearly 9 years to the day earlier than the course closed.

“It’ll take a while for the grass to settle, however I’ve performed in British Opens and that is (course) on par with them,” he added.

Professional golfers from left, Peter O'Malley, Peter Senior, Peter Fowler and Mahal Pearce at the opening of Oreti Sands golf course redevelopment in March 2009. [File photo].

Barry Harcourt/Stuff

Skilled golfers from left, Peter O’Malley, Peter Senior, Peter Fowler and Mahal Pearce on the opening of Oreti Sands golf course redevelopment in March 2009. [File photo].

Even when it grew to become public in late 2017 that closure was the one practical possibility Turner continued to induce Invercargill to latch onto the tourism alternative.

“Clearly Oreti needs to be the jewel within the crown from a customer perspective,” Turner stated on the time.

“The golf tourism sector in New Zealand is rising and if anyone goes to draw them to Invercargill it’s Oreti [Sands].

“The expansion of tourism golf in New Zealand has been important, however I might suspect not lots of them that come listed below are conscious of Oreti Sands.”

“It is off the charts [in Central Otago]. In actual fact, the largest problem is there may be extra demand than provide.”

Former professional golfer and course designer Greg Turner, right, gives Jim Valli a guided tour of the redevelopment work at Oreti Sands Links course in 2007. [File photo].

John Hawkins/Stuff

Former skilled golfer and course designer Greg Turner, proper, provides Jim Valli a guided tour of the redevelopment work at Oreti Sands Hyperlinks course in 2007. [File photo].

Reflecting 4 years on, whereas disillusioned closure needed to happen, Horn stays comfy folding up the membership and handing over the keys to the Oreti Sands course was the best resolution.

“Whenever you look again now and suppose, ‘may now we have achieved something completely different?’ There’s merely no means we may have continued to maintain that golf course going.

“We couldn’t get sufficient membership membership, and we couldn’t get sufficient guests coming to Invercargill to justify the expense that was wanted to keep up it,” Horn says.

The robust hyperlinks course appealed to many golf writers and guests that performed it, however the nature of the course didn’t see Invercargill golfers flocking.

“It was the furthest out of city for folks to journey to, and it was perceived by lots as being too tough. There’s no query, when there was south-westerly or westerly blowing it was a difficult course to play.

Greg Turner and Michael Campbell checking out the new par 3 17th hole at the now-closed Oreti Sands golf course.

John Hawkins/Stuff

Greg Turner and Michael Campbell testing the brand new par 3 seventeenth gap on the now-closed Oreti Sands golf course.

“It ticked the packing containers for very enthusiastic golfers, nevertheless it received fairly laborious for the common membership golfer,” Horn says.

In 2000, the membership had about 400 members. When it closed in 2018 it was at beneath 100.

The committee took measures to cut back prices to make sure the books balanced. It included in Might 2015 eradicating their final paid place on the membership, which was their greenkeeper.

However that merely added to the complications.

As an alternative, membership members picked up the slack by means of numerous volunteer hours, with about 10 members serving to preserve the 18-hole course.

It proved an excessive amount of to deal with.

“It wasn’t sustainable,” Horn says.

Former Southland Golf Club member Andy Fraser teeing off over 280 meters of water at the par 3 hole 16 at the now closed Oreti Sands course. [File photo].

John Hawkins/Stuff

Former Southland Golf Membership member Andy Fraser teeing off over 280 meters of water on the par 3 gap 16 on the now closed Oreti Sands course. [File photo].

When Oreti Sands was working Invercargill had 4 golf programs inside its boundary catering to a metropolis with a inhabitants of simply over 50,000.

The remaining Queens Park, Invercargill and Inexperienced Acres golf equipment have had their very own challenges attracting golfers and in flip, masking bills.

Many members of the Southland Golf Membership transferred to the Invercargill Golf Membership at Otatara when Oreti sands closed.

Horn was one in all them. He now performs on the Invercargill Golf Membership most Mondays and Wednesdays.

“We have been very welcomed by [Invercargill Golf Club], and I believe they’ve benefited from the extra membership. We’ve been properly taken care of and contributed to their membership as properly,” Horn says.

“We’ve all moved on. It’s like something in life, it’s no good wanting again and saying, ‘if solely’. You progress on and make one of the best of what you’re.

“Invercargill is properly served by the opposite three golf programs, if anyone needs to get right into a golf membership they’ll instantly.”





Supply hyperlink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.