Golf course faces chop to make way for road

It's a literal take on a driving range - Pauatahanui Golf Club will be losing three of its nine holes to make way for Transmission Gully.

In return, the New Zealand Transport Agency is footing the bill for new tees and greens, two new fairways and some new timber buildings, and has put the project out to tender.

About 2.5 hectares of the course, on the Paekakariki Hill Road, is being taken for the $1.3 billion Kapiti roading project.

The redevelopment work was necessary to keep the club running as a community facility, NZTA Wellington state highways manager Rod James said.

Course convenor Ron Cox said the club had been holding discussions with the agency since about 2000, and after various delays it was now at a stage where it was finalising plans.

"We have a very good golf course out here, that works and can be played properly, and they're coming along and knocking the guts out of it, so they have to give us back what we've got."

The road will run through the top of the nine-hole, 10-green course, chopping off two fairways, one green and a tee, and leaving another green stuck up in a corner.

In order for the size of the course to be restored, NZTA was negotiating with neighbours to buy some land to make up for it, Mr Cox said.

He estimated the restoration would cost between $2 million and $3m, though NZTA said it was still going through the competitive tender process and could not yet confirm costs.

It said other affected parties had also been compensated for the acquisition of their land.

Mr Cox said the club had not been happy to learn it was affected by the expressway. However, it could not stop it and was satisfied the proposal put forward would keep the quality of the course.

"If they don't do those changes, then we don't have a golf course, and the only alternative is for them to buy the whole lot - and that's an awful lot of money and an awful lot of upset golfers."

The Pauatahanui Golf Club has been running since 1967 and has about 150 members.

The Dominion Post