Hitting a sweet spot: Helensville District Golf Club

By: Jill Malcolm, Photography by: Jill Malcolm


Jill Malcolm shares her latest adventures and experiences from the road

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Exotic and native trees define the course

Many RVers have as much passion for tee time as they do for happy hour. This is not surprising; golf is the highest participation sport in New Zealand. Around seven million rounds are played each year, and we have 390 golf clubs, which places the country second in the world for the number of courses per capita.

Only Scotland has more. One of ours, not far north of Auckland, is a lovely 18-hole parkland course spreading across a gently undulating landscape that once provided fertile pasture for cattle and sheep.

The Helensville District Golf Club course is situated 12 kilometres outside Helensville village, with some suggesting it would be better named "The-Nowhere Near Helensville" golf course.

Twelve kilometres is nothing in a modern machine but during the 1930s nine-hole golf was played on a local farm that was six kilometres away. The difficulty of getting there had a dampening effect on players’ enthusiasm and the club was disbanded.

It was resurrected on another farm in 1948. The clubhouse was the farmer’s woolshed where seating was provided on wool bales. A few years on, a small course and clubhouse were built on yet anotherfarm.

It was still some distance away from town but players were transported there in a dedicated bus. Then 11 years later, the club bought its own property and members began the long labour of transforming farmland into an 18-hole parkland defined by exotic trees, colourful shrubs and native groves.

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A friendly welcome in the club house

The present club house also has a history. In 1959 it was being transported in two parts from the farmer’s paddock to the new location. The first half arrived safely. The second, truck and all, slid off the narrow metal road and ended up in a gully at a rakish angle.

With a lot of head scratching and rural ingenuity it was salvaged and today the same club house that has been expanded and modernised is spacious and airy with comfortable red and blue chairs clustered around tables in the dining room and a sunny balcony with a pleasant view over the 18th green and beyond.

The club’s rural beginnings are reflected in its hospitality. The café is open to anyone and a simple dinner is served on Friday nights. Club members welcome visitors enthusiastically and RVers are welcome to stay one or more nights and use the café/restaurant and ablution facilities.

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The park-like fairways 

The course is a good test of players’ skills even though it’s an easy walk. Fairways are medium length or short with three par-fives and the rest par-fours or threes. None-the-less, a steady swing is needed to negotiate the combination of tree-lined fairways, lakes and streams.

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Manager Sandy March

Sandy March has been the manager here for the last eight years. When he’s not tending to club matters he is nurturing horses and cattle on his family’s lifestyle bock just down the road.

"It’s not a particularly difficult course," he says. "Par 71 for men and 73 for ladies. There are fewer bunkers than there are holes. However, there is some water to hit over or avoid. I think the greatest hazards on this course are the golfers," he grinned.

"One of my favourite holes is the 17th, a par three that is bordered by a small bush reserve and with water hazards on both sides of the fairway. It’s a challenging hole but the setting is uplifting." No matter what the final score, ‘uplifting’ seems to hit the sweet spot for this delightful golf course ‘nowhere near Helensville’. 

The Helensville Golf Course is located at 197 Peak Rd, Kaukapakapa, Auckland. helensvillegolf.co.nz

Win a round of golf for two

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The Helensville Golf Course has kindly offered the winners of the competition a round of golf for two, valued at $90, a cart and an after match beer or coffee.

Enter here to win before 1 May 2020.

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