Friday, March 26, 2010

Mahia Beach Golf Club, Mahia, NZ

I have a day off from work, where should I go play golf? This question usually dictates most of my free days. The next step is then to open up google maps and survey a region of New Zealand which I have not yet explored, Mahia. Laying directly across the Hawkes Bay, the mountainous penninsula of Mahia can be seen on clear days while standing on the cliffs of Cape Kidnappers. Since I usually look for golf courses as close to a body of water as possible the nine hole Mahia Beach Golf Club was easy to find. Only a small road accessing the penninsula separates the golf course from the bay.

Laying in low sand dunes the golf course crawls through narrow sandy passages on the first 3 holes and then navigates its way through a few marshy patches. The 8th hole is sandwiched between a large stand of pines and dunes, while the 9th, the most dramatic hole on the course opens up to a large field with its green sitting atop an interesting complex of natural mounds, lovingly named The Cleavage.

For a links course the turf conditions were a bit dissapointing as the ground was covered in a spongy and gnarly thatch of kikuyu grass. The result of maintaining sucha a turf was that the ball did not bounce and run as I expected in the wonderful setting of these dunes. For a country course owned, operated, and maintained by its 70 members the Mahia Beach Golf Club is a delightful place to find golfing comraderie.

I had the pleasure to have a few drinks with some of the members of this small club on a sunday evening after their regular game. We sat in the upstairs room of their club facing the panorama of Mahia Beach, sharing stories and singing songs. A wonderful group of golfers they were and most welcoming to their guest from NYC.

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