Brains trust . . . Lower Waitaki Golf Club members (from left) Kevin Legg, Gordon Greaney, course developer Greg Turner, Ian Hurst and Ian Moore. PHOTO: ELIZABETH FOUNTAINE

Golfers will face a few surprises when they take to the Lower Waitaki Golf Course from tomorrow.

The course’s bunkers have been redesigned, with changes made to their position, dimension and shape.

The changes were completed under the watchful eye of former professional golfer, and now course designer, Greg Turner.

When making changes to a course, it was important to keep the “feel” the same, Mr Turner said.

“They are sort of organic, golf courses,” he said.

“It’s trying to do stuff in keeping with the terrain.

“Stuff built back in the day would have been rudimentary.

“The knowledge, understanding and construction techniques have come on.”

Changing where the bunkers were, in relation to the green, forced players to make more decisions, and weigh up the risk and reward of shots more often, he said.

The project was funded by proceeds from the milling of forestry plantations, that were planted in 1976, the same year the course was established.

Lower Waitaki Golf Club secretary Ian Moore said the course was started by “a bunch of farmers” who got together and wanted to play golf.

Big job . . . A digger with a 360deg scoop shapes the bunkers with precision. PHOTO: ELIZABETH FOUNTAINE

“The bunkers would have been the same since the course opened,” he said.

Their decision to plant trees at the same time was paying dividends.

The new bunkers looked “absolutely stunning”, he said.

“It’s not making it more difficult, it’s about making it more interesting – at the end of the day, everyone who plays here are amateurs.

Club member Ian Hurst, who has been involved in the redevelopment project, said it had been in the works for about a year.

“We have been enormously blessed to have Greg and his skill sets,” he said.

“[We] have a really strong support crew that helps with maintaining the course to the standard that it is.

“It wouldn’t have been able to be done without volunteer labour.”

The bunker renovations were part of a wider redevelopment of the course. Various trees have been removed to allow more sun on the greens and open up the fairways.

  • Additional reporting Elizabeth Fountaine

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