Golf club makes no changes, suddenly ranked among New Zealand's best

Brent McAree and Alan Hawken have always known their golf club was one of the best.
JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ

Brent McAree and Alan Hawken have always known their golf club was one of the best.

For 40 years the Waverley Golf Club has had the same 18 holes, and the course has barely been changed. 

And despite the lack of changes, or renovations since 1972, the course recently was ranked in the Top 50 Golf Courses in New Zealand at number 31. 

A club life member, Alan Hawken, said he thought the lack of changes was the reason they had entered the ranks so high. 

Hawken said the men who were looking at the course came and played and were "absolutely astounded" that the course was in its natural state. 

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"Most courses, they have get in bloody great bulldozers and shift everything around to suit what they want, whereas this just got it all naturally and that's what they liked about it," he said. 

"We've done very little earth moving." 

Club president Brent McAree said this made it one of best golf courses for good golfers. 

"A lot of average golfers don't like this course because you've got to think about every shot," McAree said. "But you get good golfers here and they just love it." 

Hawken said he had always liked the course because every time you played, it was slightly different. 

"The wind is a big factor, no two holes are the same, every hole is slightly different to the other one, and when you come and play it tomorrow the wind is in a different quarter," he said.

"It's like going to a different golf course." 

McAree said the club has never done any advertising, so wasn't known to many, and this seemed to be what the reviewer of the course thought too. 

The online review said that 'this unassuming club flies well under the radar - even local Taranaki golfers seem to overlook this rugged gem.'

"It's unique, you don't realise what you've got," McAree said. "We've always said it, there's not many courses match this. " 

​The term 'rugged' seemed to refer to the 150 acres of hills, but also what McAree calls the club's best members - their sheep. 

The club has about 300 sheep who help with the maintenance on the grounds, and then, help keep the club financially sound. 

"The income, in a good year, of those is probably equivalent to 150 members," McAree said. 

Hawken said the sheep were  taken off on tournament days, but are on the course all year round. 

 - Stuff

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