St Clair green keeper Andrew Hobbs relaxes on his mower in
front of the new 18th green yesterday. Photo by Peter
''A labour of love'' is how St Clair green keeper Andrew
Hobbs describes the laying of the new 18th green which will
test the putting skills of the players in the women's
interprovincial tournament at St Clair.
Work on the new green began in mid-May and Hobbs estimated
more than 900 hours had gone into its construction.
''This includes a tremendous input by volunteer club members
who have made a huge difference in preparing the course for
this event,'' Hobbs said.
''One member, Dave Sharp, has been around the course every
morning repairing pitch marks, which has really improved the
In order to shape the green and get the surrounding contours
right, they shifted a mammoth 2700 tonnes of earth over a
seven-day period in May.
''The new green not only provides a range of pin placements
but will give a variety of putts which players will need to
read well,'' Hobbs said.
The course is in pristine condition and Hobbs admitted he
worked 71 hours last week to ensure St Clair is at its best.
He has also received support from other greens staff with
Gary Creedy (North Otago), Michael Minty (Island Park) and
Phil Bungard (St Clair) pitching in to help in the
Hobbs (42) has been involved in his trade for 26 years,
starting as an apprentice at Harewood in Christchurch in
Since then he has worked at Terrace Downs, Pukekohe and
Templeton before contracting out to four Christchurch courses
with his father, Finn.
Hobbs is a talented golfer, having played 130 games for
Canterbury before moving to St Clair nine years ago.
He has represented Otago in four interprovincial tournaments
and has played in the past two masters (over-40)
interprovincials for Otago.
His best result was emerging unbeaten with six wins and a
half in the 1997 tournament at Balmacewen.
He has been a member of two Canterbury winning teams - in
1998, at North Shore, and in 2000, at Otatara, where he
captained the team.
Also in 1998, Hobbs beat Mahal Pearce to win the South Island
title in tough conditions on the Oreti Sands course in
In that same year he was runner-up to Wellington's Martin
Pettigrew in the New Zealand strokeplay championship.