Golf: On course for champs

Otago Golf Club golf course manager Craig Parata takes a break from smoothing the sand in a bunker on the 17th fairway at the Otago Golf Club yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Otago Golf Club golf course manager Craig Parata takes a break from smoothing the sand in a bunker on the 17th fairway at the Otago Golf Club yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The fairways are looking good.

The greens are smooth and in good order.

Now all Craig Parata and his team want is some good weather.

Parata, the Otago Golf Club golf course manager, has been working hard for the past few months to get the course in ship-shape condition for next week's interprovincial championships.

Now with the start just six days away, the finishing touches are being applied.

"We are where we want to be.

"We started planning for this 12 months ago and although October did not help us much in terms of the weather, we have made the most of the past few sunny days," Parata said.

The course last held the championships in 1997 and Parata has worked at the course since 2000.

He usually has a team of four, including himself, working on the course but has a team of eight over the past few days.

Club members are also pitching in, with 18 club members each adopting a hole for the past few weeks to get it in pristine condition for the tournament.

The only brief the ground staff received from New Zealand Golf was to bring in fairways by about 2m. They have done so for some fairways while others have been left alone.

A new green has been constructed on the 17th hole while the championship tee on the final hole has been put back 50m.

Parata said some golfers may still try to drive the green but he doubted many would make it.

The fairways are being cut daily at the moment - they are usually cut twice a week.

Parata and his team were likely to be on course by about 5.30am every day of the tournament with tee-off some days at 7.30am.

They will have to get the course ready for play the next day. so will most probably be on course until darkness.

The rough on the fairways is between 7.5cm and 15cm long and those golfers who did find the thick rough would have obviously played a bad shot, Parata said.

"That is the way this course is set up. A smart player has always done well around here. It is not a particularly long course but you have to think. If you hit the fairway and greens then you can't go too far wrong. But if you miss the greens then you are liable to struggle a bit."

After the tournament finishes, the action will switch to St Clair Golf Club where the ladies interprovincial competition will start on December 11.