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Helpful . . . Celebrating the new John Deere equipment saving Lower Waitaki Golf Club volunteers more than 120 hours of work are (from left) Drummond & Etheridge branch manager Dave Laughton, Lower Waitaki Golf Club president Gerard Coutts, new player Amy Coutts, and Oamaru Licensing Trust president Ali Brosan. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Devoted members are making sure things are ticking over at the Lower Waitaki Golf Club.

After spending the past five years chopping wood, hosting tournaments and exploring every other fundraising venture imaginable, the club has finally raised enough to get a new John Deere tractor and Trimax Snake mower.

Club members raised $80,000, and their total was boosted by a $15,000 grant from the Oamaru Licensing Trust, and $7000 from Meridian.

The top-of-the-line mower, from Drummond and Etheridge, was much faster than the club’s previous mower, which was 15-years-old.

Club president Gerard Coutts said the new mower would save the six grounds volunteers up to 120 hours of work, as they kept the 18-hole course in pristine condition. He was grateful to the volunteers and funders for helping with the venture.

“Without the help of these sort of outfits, obtaining this gear is just outside our reach. [OLT] are very good supporters of the club,” Coutts said.

The new tractor and mower were not the only new additions to the club.

Following a strategic plan with former professional Greg Turner, the club redesigned 12 bunkers, helping make the course more player-friendly, and requiring less maintenance.

Player feedback on the bunker changes was positive.

“The response has been super – a great initiative.

Club members also put in new tee boxes, removed trees and opened the course up to more light.

A new website would be launched soon, he said.

There had also been the extra push for tournaments at the club this season, and it appeared to be paying off. The club’s OLT Ambrose tournament in April attracted 140 players, and there was a large waiting list to join.

“We want to be known for having the best tournaments in North Otago.”

The club had 130 members at present, and a strong group of secondary school players, who had recently joined.

“We’ve got some pretty good junior golfers here.

“We are known for our friendliness, and we’re very welcoming to anybody, whether they are new or old.”

Men’s club days were hosted on Saturdays, and nearly 20 women took part in clubs days on Tuesdays.

“Everyone is welcome to join the great course.”