A golf club in town experienced an exodus of members after part of the course was closed by the Auckland Council for safety reasons.
Chamberlain Park Golf Club has persuaded 130 golfers not to renew their membership, with club treasurer Richard Quince citing the closure of three holes as a culprit.
Parts of the course were closed in April after golf balls hit traffic on an adjacent freeway.
Chris McKeen / Stuff
Three holes at Chamberlain Park Golf Course have been closed since April after idiosyncratic balls were thrown into traffic.
“Golf is an 18-hole game, end of story,” said Quince, who has played golf at Chamberlain Park for 14 years.
“It has a significant impact on club members, especially those who want to play interclub golf, they need 18 holes,” he said.
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Auckland Council announced in April a temporary closure of the 5th, 12th and 14th holes in Chamberlain Park, reducing the public golf course to an unconventional 15 holes.
Julian Raethel / stuff
The course has been reduced to an unconventional 15 holes, which has resulted in a drop in membership.
The change came after three incidents of golf balls hitting cars on the adjacent Northwest Highway that were reported to the community between December 2020 and February 2021.
The park had 270 members in June 2020. However, this fell by almost half to 140 members last month. Quince said the closure of parts of the course was to blame.
“[Interclub] won’t happen until summer but there is so much uncertainty. People say if we want to play interclub we have to go somewhere else, ”said Quincy.
Lucy Xia / stuff
Golfers want certainty when cordoned off sections are reopened and will not be able to compete in tournaments this summer unless the course is scaled back to 18 holes.
“Our club members just don’t renew their membership because we can’t tell them anything about what’s going on.”
Quince wants to know what the community is doing to resolve concerns about golf balls hitting traffic and when restricted sections can reopen.
Spokesman Paul Amaral said the Auckland Council is investigating ways to reduce the risk of golf balls reaching the highway.
“Options studied include moving the greens and shortening holes and possibly moving tees to reduce the risk of rerouting golf balls and creating a safe distance from the highway,” he said.
Amaral said due to the workload and slow grass growth in winter, the council was considering a “possible reopening” of the closed sections in October.
“We are working with the local board of directors as well as community groups and clubs to get their feedback and approval on recommended changes to the three holes. As soon as we have the approval, work can begin, ”he said.
Chamberlain Park sits on prime property just 10 minutes west of the city center.
It was at the center of a five-year feud over the proposal to reduce the course from 18 to nine holes in order to pave the way for a sports field and a public park.
The Albert-Eden Local Board voted in 2019 to reverse a decision made in 2015 that would have reduced the size of the course.
A new proposal is keeping the 18 holes and installing a park on the west end, but has been changed until 2025 due to the loss of revenue the council suffered due to Covid-19.