Golf Industry Central Winter 2012 - Page 20

NZ club refuses to fall through CRACKS By David Newbery The club endured three earthquakes in less than 12 months, which destroyed the clubhouse and rendered nine holes unplayable. Despite the setback, the club’s management and members refused to let Mother Nature win. They are getting on with the job of rebuilding the clubhouse and work has already started on a remodelled golf course. General manager John Herdman said the club would spend $2.5m on a new clubhouse and $1.5m on the golf course redesign. “After three quakes, we had to rebuild the damaged areas three times and finally got to a stage where it was so badly damaged we decided enough was enough,” he said. “So we said ‘let’s have a major revamp of the golf course while it is out of action’.” The members voted unanimously to approve the new plans at a special general meeting. One long-time member, an 86-year-old club stalwart, said it was the most exciting thing to happen to the club in 50 years and “something worth living for”. The club commissioned Kristine Kerr of Kura Golf Course Design and Adam Jones of Golf Renovations and Shaping Specialists (GRASS) to start work on the new-look course. Kerr – whose design philosophy is strategy, playability, aesthetics and maintainability – had a brief to design a course for the members 18 The Golf Marketing Professionals and not a difficult championship course. Kerr said the remodelled course would incorporate earthquake remediation-type measures. “ it was the most exciting thing to happen to the club in 50 years and “something worth living for” “ In some sports, it’s three strikes and you’re out, but New Zealand’s Waimairi Beach Golf Club in Christchurch has had three strikes (read earthquakes) and they are still in there fighting the good fight. “We are trying to make it earthquake proof because most of the damage was caused by liquefaction that rendered the course unplayable,” said Kerr, who previously worked with Gary Player’s design company. “We’ve had a report commissioned by hydrologists, who suggested lowering some areas in between golf holes, creating some sandy waste areas and using some of that fill to build up the fairways. “It’s been quite straightforward because the site is so sandy it’s beautiful to work with.”