Wanaka to host 2016 NZ Mixed Foursomes Championship
Wanaka To Host National Foursomes
By Denise Langdon
PaR nz Golfing Holidays
Wanaka Golf Club is set to welcome back the New Zealand Amateur Mixed Foursomes for the second consecutive year in October 2016. The tournament attracts players of all abilities from both sides of the Tasman, with flights and plates for each of the multiple divisions. Past winners of this championship have included professionals Grant Waite and Brenda Ormsby, as well as well-known amateurs Kaye Maxwell and current Golf Manager with NZ Golf, Phil Aickin.
An array of district representatives have excelled at the tournament since it began in 1973, including current titleholder Claire Hunter, who won the 2015 event in partnership with her husband, Grant Dooley.
Originally, the event was a joint collaboration between the then NZGA and NZLGU – now amalgamated as New Zealand Golf. A fresh approach in recent times, under management by PaR nz Golfing Holidays, has revived interest in the event and added to players' enjoyment. The tournament is now held over the New Zealand Labour Weekend in late October, and is set down for October 22-23, 2016.
In the 2015 event, the field of players was split into divisions of eight pairs, competing in foursomes match play. Only the top division competed in off–the-stick match play. All other divisions competed in handicap foursomes match play.
Many 2015 competitors reported back on the great time that they had at this southern gem. They appreciated touches such as the welcoming happy hour, the breakfast pre-round on the first day of competition, and a lunch to complement the last day's awards and prizing-giving ceremony.
Though sometimes in the shadow of nearby Queenstown golfing beauties such as The Hills, Jack's Point and Millbrook, the Wanaka course's challenges and vistas are right up there for visiting national and international golfers. The club has hosted several national golf events, including the New Zealand Men’s Seniors in 2009.
The golf club was formed in 1922 on a site lower than its present layout, which dates back to the late 1960s. Two nines, split over two sides of Ballantyne Road, were fully opened for play to make up a championship 18-hole course.
The first nine holes were based around Faulks Terrace and Stone Street, which have elevated perspectives and provide panoramic views over the township and lake towards Mt Aspiring. The back nine, the second stage to be opened, are sited on former Wanaka Station land. This section is more park-like with views of Mt Iron, Mt Gold and Cardrona Valley.
The club is welcoming and accommodating to visitors with a fully stocked pro shop, good practice facilities and a plentiful supply of golf buggies. The club is in a healthy financial position with more than 950 members – not bad for a township with a population of about 7400.
A picturesque setting at the southern end of Lake Wanaka, along with its historic roots in the 19th century gold rush era, makes Wanaka a popular year-round holiday destination. The town is still growing, much like nearby Queenstown, which is only a 45-minute drive away. The population of the greater Queenstown lakes district, of which Wanaka is part, has grown by 50 per cent over the past 10 years.
In addition to its golf course, Wanaka is known for its easy access to the Mount Aspiring National Park – part of a World Heritage Area – and its proximity to the headwaters of the South Island's longest river, the Clutha. The biennial Warbirds Over Wanaka air show and Rippon Festival of New Zealand music regularly draw thousands of national and international visitors to the region, and the town is also credited with being the first place to host sheepdog trials.
One of the few areas in New Zealand with a near-continental climate, Wanaka has four distinct seasons that provide colour and contrast for returning golfers. The golf club's greens are particularly renowned for their excellent year-round condition.
For relaxation off the course, golfers can test their sense of direction in the maze at Puzzling World, or settle back at the Cinema Paradiso, styled in a classic layout with old couches and an in-theatre Morris Minor. The nearby Cardrona ski field has one of the world's few Olympic-sized half-pipes , making it a popular training site for some of the best international snow-sports athletes.
Come, try this southern beauty surrounded by unique natural landscapes. With a stated objective of gradually improving its 'holiday course' for all players' enjoyment, the Wanaka Golf Club will make you feel most welcome.