As if the lockdown of all activities for golf clubs is not enough during this pandemic but clubs throughout the country are facing another threat from lockdown breakers.
While the majority of clubs are abiding by the rules put in place by the NZ Government, it has led to a spate of illegal activities on golf courses causing concern for club management and police.
Some members of the public seem to be blissfully unaware that golf club courses are closed to the general public so it is not alright to go for a walk with or without the dog or hit a few golf balls.
The St Clair Golf Club on Thursday night had to deal with someone racing around the course on a motorbike. The police were notified.
At the Otago Club Course at Balmacewen people were seen playing golf on Thursday and Saturday.
On Sunday a family of five with two young children were frolicking in a bunker and another family drove into the car park and were heading for the bunker by the ninth green to use the bunker as a sandpit. Fortunately, a member was able to discourage them and they left.
At the Rarangi Golf Club in Blenheim, members have been advised to follow the instructions being promoted by the Government to ‘Stay Home’ and yet even with “Course Closed” signs up, video evidence shows a number of folk accessing the property and there is little or nothing they can do about it as a “Country” Course.
Amongst the many challenges of closure, Palmerston North Golf Club is having to deal with the public using the course as a playground. But their biggest concern is the lack of maintenance of the course and the dwindling finances which will make it hard once lockdown is over.
Riversdale Beach Golf Club is a small 9 hole club on the East Coast of the Wairarapa and is also having issues with members and non-members playing and walking the course during the shutdown. As they are in the middle of a small village, the course can be accessed by foot easily and this continues to be an issue with law enforcement more than 65km away so social media monitoring is underway.
At Chisholm Park in Dunedin it is a different kettle of fish as it is Council owned land. This being the case as many of the public use these courses for walking their dogs and their droppings are an unfortunate bonus for the golf club. It will be interesting to see if the council eventually enforce closure totally.
St. Clair, like the Otago Club are being proactive in trying to protect their properties. Both clubs have a person living on course and the St.Clair tenant will be regularly doing checks on the course walking with his Alsation dog.
The General Manager Annette Godman has advised any members living nearby to go walking on the course to keep an eye on things. Similarly Otago Club members can do likewise according to Director of Golf Shelley Duncan.
If all New Zealand citizens do not break the lockdown rules and respect the fact Golf courses are closed to them, these facilities will not suffer any more than what the lockdown will cause.
Neville Idour & NZGM