NZ Golf: clubs do not often clash with councils

Despite the furore surrounding council plans to reclassify recreational land leased to the Dunstan Golf Club, the national golf organisation says the body maintains a robust relationship with councils in general.

New Zealand Golf sector relationship manager Carl Fenton said councils were one of the largest investors in golf nationwide and a key partner of the sport.

‘‘Golf is working with councils to grow value to local communities.’’

The Otago Daily Times contacted Mr Fenton in light of a stoush between the Dunstan Golf Club and the Central Otago District Council over plans to site a sewage and wastewater pumping station in the Clyde Reserve.

He had a different take on the issue.

‘‘It is my understanding that councils have an obligation to review activities that are on public land, before issuing a new lease.

‘‘In this scenario, councils are following standard operating procedures.’’

The majority of New Zealand’s 400 golf courses were rurally based, volunteer-led, charitable not-for-profit organisations and were not based on ‘‘prime land’’, Mr Fenton said.

In other cases, courses that were on land with competing priorities were initially built on land that had low demand for other use, he said.

‘‘As New Zealand has developed, cities have grown up around these courses,’’ he said.

New Zealand Golf’s goal was to maintain as much of the country’s golfing footprint as possible while ensuring clubs’ facilities added value to, and played an integral role in, their local communities.

The Dunstan Golf Club may be an exception to the rule and the majority of courses on lease land worked regularly with councils to achieve joint outcomes, he said.

‘‘This involves regular discussions on investment or adjustment and is a constant process for most council based courses.’’

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