Motorhoming and golfing in Walton
If you have never heard of Walton you are not alone. The tiny village set among the buconic landscape between Morrinsville and Matamata has all but disappeared, save a compact red brick church, a school and a hall. What keeps Walton more firmly on the map is its golf course. Once you are in the game yourself it becomes apparent that increasing numbers of travellers are finding that motorhoming and golfing go hand ‘n glove, as evidenced when 25 motorhomes and two caravans disgorged 40 golfers onto the Walton Course on a warm, end-of-summer day earlier this year. The club is just six years off its centenary. It’s one of those friendly institutions you can sometimes trip across when you are one the road, where the spirit of hospitality – no strings attached – is still alive. On the table in the club cafe sat a huge bowl of tomatoes and piles of cucumbers and peppers for the taking, donated by local gardeners. Members welcomed us as if we were already friends. Generosity is the country way but I’m sure the locality also had something to do with it – a tapestry of soft hills that roll across the landscape, dotted with willows and elms and other exotic trees and divided by trimmed hedgerows and neat fences. Cornfields yellow in the sun and thick pastures nurture herds of goats and dairy cows. Everywhere is the sweet herby whiff of silage. If you hadn’t noticed the landscape, the sign outside the golf club hints at the rural location: No boots or gumboots. Shirts will be worn. We employ common sense. The golf course itself is no less attractive. It’s an easy-walking par 72 course, kind to those of us who play well above par. Bunker hazards are sparse. The fairways wind through shady trees and clumps of attractive bushes and past ponds and water features positioned so that they don’t swallow too many golf balls. As a result, magpies were not the only birdies on the course that day and there were plenty of happy campers. Jill Malcolm is a former editor of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations and author of the Great Kiwi Motorhome Guide.