Farewell to Lochiel


Riverside Golf Club is preparing to farewell play on its Lochiel course for at least two years after striking a deal with NZTA for its Narrows Course as part of the Southern Links roading project.

The club, whose 800 plus members will play on the Narrows while Lochiel is redeveloped, has negotiated a multi-million dollar deal with NZTA for the Narrows, which has a highway designation running through it.

The settlement is understood to be enough to totally redevelop Lochiel, repay around $1 million of club debt, create a $4 million investment fund, and leave the club with cash in hand.

Club president Craig Meinsmith would not confirm figures to Tamahere Forum but it’s understood the agreement put to club members in June also covers work at the Narrows course to improve car parking and the club house to cater for the greater number of golfers using the course during the two-year transition.

Meinsmith said he believed both parties got a good deal. Under the Public Works Act, NZTA, as Crown agent, was up for re-establishment of the Narrows Course, which would have been much more costly if it had been on a greenfield site, he said.

The option chosen by club members meant they still had a course to play on while Lochiel was redeveloped even if the Narrows was the smaller of the courses and it was a bit of a squeeze, Meinsmith said.

The proposals, first put to members last December, had united the formerly separate golf clubs and their quite different member cultures, he said.

The final vote passed with 99.5% support.

In about two years it was expected Lochiel would have been transformed into a course unique in New Zealand under the direction of a design team which includes golf pro Phil Tataurangi.

The course is on a riverbed and there were plans to expose the pumice subgrade as a course feature, something that was seen on overseas courses but would be a first in New Zealand, Meinsmith said.

In a farewell to the Lochiel course as it is, the club is staging an Open Farewell Tournament and social on Sunday, August 26 where past and present members will be invited to play as well as recall past times.

Lochiel’s final pre-redevelopment day will be Saturday, September 15.

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

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