Golf tournament for mobile home, caravan owners attracts biggest convoy yet

The Geraldine golf course will be visited by hundreds of caravans and motorhomes as part of the...
The Geraldine golf course will be visited by hundreds of caravans and motorhomes as part of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association golf tournament later this month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A golf tournament open exclusively to owners and occupants of motorhomes and campervans has grown in popularity by 400% in just three years, placing it squarely on the must-do map for free-spirited golfers driving around the country.

A trio of South Canterbury golf clubs held their first New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) golf tournament in 2022, attracting 24 players who turned up in their convoy of mobile dwellings.

The three-day tournament, taking place on February 21, 22 and 23, will be held at the Geraldine, Temuka and Pleasant Point golf clubs.

The South Island Motor Caravan Golf Tournament doubled in size last year when 50 players signed up, and it obtained a sponsor.

Up to 100 golfers are set to compete this year.

As part of its registration criteria, all players must be members of the NZMCA.

Geraldine Golf Club general manager and event founder/organiser Chris Phillips said establishing and growing the NZMCA tournament had delivered a regular tourism mini-boom not only for the three participating golf clubs, but also the wider South Canterbury region.

"The motorhome tournament slots in perfectly with the clubs’ regular weekly event calendars and therefore creates minimal disruption to memberships.

"We’ve found previously that motorhome owners, when staying overnight in an urban location, tend to pack up and be on their way relatively early too — so again, most members wouldn’t even know they had been on the course the day before."

Entry is $195 — each of the clubs receives a budget of $20 per player for food, and also retains any bar takings.

The clubs also do not charge green fees for players in the tournament.

Golf New Zealand Aorangi district golf development officer Tom Wilson applauded the clubs’ revenue-generating initiative.

The concept could easily be replicated throughout New Zealand, he said.

"I can certainly see the concept working in many of New Zealand’s provinces with three clubs collaboratively joining together to have motorhome and campervan players rotating from course to course over a relatively short travelling distance," Mr Phillips said.

This month’s tournament comes as the NZMCA is asking golf clubs throughout New Zealand if they would like to offer overnight parking to members as a way of generating additional revenue.

Operating since 1991 under the marketing moniker of Park Over Property (POP), the NZMCA’s free-to-join accommodation programme showcases some 2200 locations nationwide where members can park up and, pertinently for golf clubs, visit clubrooms for a meal or beverage, and hit their fairways for a round of golf.

The Geraldine Golf Club has been part of the POP scheme for several years.

Mr Phillips said the initiative generated $1000 last year — charging NZMCA members $10 a night for the duration of their stay in the club’s carpark.