Club debates golf course future


Riverside Golf Club members are to discuss a proposal to sell one of the club’s two courses to make way for the Southern Links roading project.

The Tamahere club has two golf courses – Narrows and Lochiel. The plan is for the Narrows course to be sold and to redevelop the 18-hole Lochiel course and clubhouse facilities.

Club president Craig Meinsmith​ said the club had been in discussions with the New Zealand Transport Agency for some time over the future of the Narrows course, which has a highway designation running through it, reports the Waikato Times.

Meinsmith said the first presentation to members to discuss options was on Monday, December 11. There will be more presentations on January 16 and February 13, and members will vote in February.

If the member vote is successful and after the new facility is completed, the club intends to open up to the wider community, offering a hospitality venue for golfers and the public.

The Lochiel upgrade would take 18 months to complete and members would all play at the Narrows course during the construction period.

“The board’s vision for the future is for all members to be based at a redeveloped and upgraded Lochiel course,” he said.

“This will include a remodelled clubhouse, new access road and improved car parking and an upgraded course and practice facilities”.

RBT Design founder Brett Thomson and golf pro Phil Tataurangi have been chosen to design a plan for the Lochiel course.​

“Brett and Phil’s outstanding resumes, along with what they bring as a team with their different skills and experiences in the game, provided us with confidence that they’d design and deliver a very special course for all golfers,” Meinsmith said.

“The club would work closely with a number of partners, including NZ Golf, NZ Golf Tourism, Waikato Tourism, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Waipa District Council to maximise all opportunities to bring additional visitors to the Waikato.”

In 2013, the Narrows and Lochiel clubs amalgamated to become Riverside Golf Club. The courses are about 2.5 kilometres away from each other.

Sport Waikato chief executive Matthew Cooper facilitated the amalgamation and said the Regional Sports Trust in the Waikato supported this opportunity for Riverside.

“The plans to rejuvenate the Lochiel course and clubhouse facilities to a standard not previously available in the Waikato region whilst also ensuring their financial security long into the future is something we’re very excited about and one we’d advocate for as sound future proofing.”

He added the redevelopment provides an opportunity to boost visitor golf and golf tourism to the Waikato and will be an important component of the new business.

Southern Links is a $600 million roading project, including 18 kilometres of state highway and 13km of urban arterial roads within Peacocke.

The designation has a 20-year lapse period and construction of the network is at least 10 to 15 years away.

Once complete, Southern Links will link State Highway 1 from Kahikatea Drive in Hamilton to Tamahere and the Waikato Expressway in the south, and SH3 from Hamilton Airport to central and east Hamilton.

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