Wombles wandering greens to help clubs

Stephen Brent
Stephen Brent
A Queenstown group that aims to help small golf clubs has taken the name of a blast from the past.

The Wombles Golfing Society has been created by Stephen Brent, a member at The Hills.

The society is named for the Wombles, the fictional characters from Wimbledon Common that became hugely popular in a 1970s television series.

Brent got a group of his golfing buddies from The Hills and Millbrook to climb on board last year after Covid-19 broke out.

He said he saw the need to get out and support some of the smaller clubs in the wider district.

Brent creates monthly events for the group to go along and play at some of the harder-to-reach clubs in Central Otago and even Southland.

Usually, about 20 players would gather, he said.

They paid the normal green fees and, after golf, the clubs benefited further financially with some spending at the 19th.

Clubs including Roxburgh and as far as Winton benefited.

The group also raised money for the Wakatipu Junior Golf Club by every player contributing $10 to a fund each time they played.

The fund raised $10,000 last year for the juniors.

The Wombles had an annual marquee event called "The Outhouse To The Penthouse".

"It is one of the attractions for joining the Wombles," Wakatipu junior co-ordinator Simon Boland said.

"On day one they play at ‘Royal’ Tarras Golf Club, and on day two they play at The Hills, followed by dinner at The Hills."

There were now 93 members of the Wombles Golfing Society from all over New Zealand, paying an annual fee of $30, most of which went towards the junior club.

"It is really all about going out and doing good deeds for the benefit of others," Boland said.

"It is a great concept, all about giving, which sums up Stephen’s character."

Brent said the idea was about seeking out clubs with smaller memberships and remote locations to support them.

"Some players would like to support junior golf but don’t know how, so this is a means to do that and have some fun playing golf at the same time," he said.

"Also, some of our members are not familiar with Saturday club comps so this a way for them to learn the ropes and enjoy club days.

"The great thing is the clubs really welcome us when we approach them to play in their Saturday competition with them," he said.

"We always make sure we are mixed with the locals, which helps spread the word about us."

Brent’s younger brother, Jonathan, had started a Wombles Canterbury group in Christchurch that already had 60 members.

 - Neville Idour

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