Nine-hole course gradually takes shape at Golf City
Resurrection of a nine-hole course at Golf City is still happening, slowly.
Bulldozers and diggers have been on the site next to Palmerston North Airport and trees there have been felled and buried or turned into firewood.
The project is a joint effort between brothers Sloane and Ross Morpeth and landowner Golf City Investments, part of developer Paul Barris' Uruguayan-owned Valor Ideal.
Former leading Manawatu-Wanganui golfer Sloane Morpeth said the plan was to have a driving range operational by Christmas, with a golf shop nearby.
However, the old driving range has yet to be dismantled, which entails moving decking and a roof to the new site near the Carter's and John Deere buildings. The range will be in the centre of the old Golf City course which was originally developed by Warren and Jill Vining.
The range will be about 290 metres in length with any balls flying further than that heading safely into the huge flood retention dam built there at a cost of about $6 million.
Sloane Morpeth said he hoped to have the course grassed and ready for play by March-April.
It will be a course essentially for recreational golfers, similar to the Brookfields Golf Course which shut down on March 31.
Most of the holes will be par three, between 70 and 120 metres long, with one par four hole of about 300m.
Nine new sand greens will have to be built. All the grass on the proposed course has been sprayed following the wet winter, so there is still a lot of work to be done, including drainage and irrigation. Mounds were built when the bulldozers were working.
Ross Morpeth, the former Manawatu Golf Club professional, did not renew his contract at Hastings' Bridge Pa after eight years there, so a return to Palmerston North is an option for his family.
He has two weeks to elapse at Hastings and is looking forward to having his first Christmas off in 35 years.
Morpeth said he would get further immersed in the Golf City project once he knew it was progressing as planned.
"Yes, I am involved and I will move back if it all goes ahead," he said.
The course has been designed and Morpeth has signed a contract.