Chisholm course fit for Legends Masters tourney

The Chisholm Links course - viewed from John Wilson Ocean Drive yesterday - is the venue for a...
The Chisholm Links course - viewed from John Wilson Ocean Drive yesterday - is the venue for a NZPGA Legends Masters tournament next month. Photo: Linda Robertson
Chisholm Links Golf Club has battled tough conditions but has no concerns over its course for next month’s pro-am tournament.

The club will host one of three NZPGA Legends Masters tournaments on February 25 and 26, having attracted several top players.

While the hot, dry summer has left the course browner than normal, course convener Regan Boucher felt it was looking good considering the circumstances.

He said the club had just two fulltime staff and "a few" club volunteers to manage the course - and deal with the weather.

Both the high temperatures and strong northerly winds were "extremely harsh on any environment but more so on an unprotected coastal one such as Chisholm".

Links courses should not be compared with parklands courses, he said.

Links courses tended to brown off at times over summer because they were more exposed to high winds and heat.Links  courses usually played low, and "with crusty, fast and firm fairways", you were not always guaranteed a good lie.

Last year the club was in a similar situation with issues leading up to the New Zealand Freyburg Tournament, but the links course ended up getting positive reviews.

Boucher said he was happy with where things were heading just under a month out from the Legends tournament.

"With a tournament coming up there always is a bit to do around any golf course," he said.

"But the dry weather in this instance has restricted us from doing some things.

"We are, however, tracking along nicely and with some wet weather finally assisting us, it will relieve a bit of pressure.

"There are no concerns... on the course for the tournament, but the weather will play a part and dictate how the course will look like, to a degree."

Watering the course was important in preventing it from becoming too dry, although that presented its challenges.

Boucher said the club "sparingly" used water from the city’s reserves. 

That meant it watered its tees and greens "a couple" of times a week, with one full application being 350,000 litres. He believed the club had never watered its fairways. That would require another 500,000 litres, which would come at significant expense.

While it had received some funding to help with watering in the lead-up to the tournament, it was still using far less than the ideal amount of water.

To overcome that, it was investigating the use of grey water from the neighbouring Tahuna waste treatment plant.

That would also ensure any city  council water restrictions would not impact on tending to the links.

It had obtained funding from the Otago Regional Council to test whether the water would be safe, a process that was ongoing until April.

Alongside the ORC and the landowner, the Dunedin City Council, it was looking to ensure the water quality was safe.

DCC spokesman Tom Dyer said the two main things to clear were that there were no health issues for humans and that the application of water was actually benefiting the grass.

Grey water was used at many international courses and Boucher said it was a great opportunity to make use of a wasted resource. Test results to date appeared to be favourable, he said.

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