Back again for 2017, and top of the menu for Mangawhai golfers, the New World Food & Wine Mixed Open was predictably popular and attracted a very full field of some 170 participants.
Saturday January 7 dawned bright and a little breezy, and the first shotgun start was underway at 8am, with an afternoon start scheduled for 1pm.
This was the third year the event has been held thanks to the generous sponsorship of New World Warkworth, represented by Jeremy Ross. Food and refreshment stations are placed on tees around the course, offering an impressive array of bites ranging from strawberries and cream, ham, mussell fritters and BBQ'd fish, sausages, salads and other snacks.
An outstanding team of volunteers manned the stalls throughout both rounds. Players were superbly fed and hydrated and the consensus was, as in previous years, this is an outstanding event and a brilliant way to start the New Year of golf.
A total of 24 New Zealand clubs were represented in the field, spanning from Northland to Otago, along with two international visitors, one from Australia, one from the USA.
The Mangawhai course, like many around New Zealand, has been punished and parched by relentless winds over recent weeks but is still playing remarkably well. A good sole of grass covers fairways and rough, and the Mangawhai greens, as always, are fast and true. With a little extra run, higher handicappers were relishing the opportunity to reach greens in regulation and stableford scores were impressive as the first batch of cards were collated.
The weather stayed constant through the day and rounds were generally completed in around 4.5 hours, excellent times that showed that no-one lingered too long at any one food and drink stop, although the temptations were considerable.
Scorecards were quickly collated and a full clubhouse was present for the prize giving presided over by new Mangawhai Golf Club president Tony Vale, men's captain Wayne Watts, and sponsor Jeremy Ross.
TEE TIME: The course played well despite the dry conditions say organisers.