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Golf club to celebrate 40 years



Golf history 1-858The Mangawhai Golf Club began life as a 9 hole affair back in September 1979, literally carved out of farmland by a handful of enthusiasts, with the original clubhouse being a Kelvinator refrigerator such was the limit of paperwork. That ‘clubhouse’ still holds pride of place in its more modern counterpart today. Prominent local Jim Wintle was the original club chairman and three of the original founding members are still with us today.

Doyen of NZ golf, Harry Dale was the designer of the current 18 hole course. He designed over 60 golf courses with Mangawhai being his last and arguably one of his finest efforts. Over 500 pine trees were planted plus a large number of other natives to enhance the course which has earned visual acclaim from golfers and visitors country-wide.

Many members and visitors have voiced the opinion that there are few, if any, locations in the country with a better vista than the Mangawhai clubhouse. Apart from the tree-lined fairways and manicured greens, spectators can see 12 holes from the clubhouse.

Far from just a sports venue, management work hard to promote the club as a community centre comprising a mixture of sport, recreation, exercise and social activities. 

“Through various social events, competitions, auctions and fundraisers we have raised close to $550,000 for worthy causes in the local community,” says Mike ‘Howdo’ Howard, self-styled club ambassador and master fundraiser. “Our members are aged from 6 to 86, all generations play, and we now have 850 members.” 

The club has a great participation ethic, and a competitive one also with the current North Harbour Champion Pennants trophy proudly displayed in the clubhouse, won at first attempt in the North harbour competition. 

“Participation is the key,” adds Howdo, complimenting the 50 or so volunteers who give freely of their time tending to drains, gardens and tree trimming. 

A special first for the club was also the round of golf played anywhere in the world for the new millennium – long-term member Bede Brittenden completing his round by 1.24am January 1 2000 using glow balls and a lighted golf cart.

Tickets for the Fabulous Forty Years celebration dinner on the evening of Saturday October 12 have quickly sold out, with guests including NZ golfing legend Sir Bob Charles, and golfing icon Greg Turner who plays regularly on the Mangawhai course and whose family have close ties to the town.

On Sunday the club will host a novelty 9 hole event and create more memories, beginning a new page of history for the Mangawhai Golf Club. 

Then and now: The original ‘clubhouse’ – propped up by L Ball, P Speedy and J Wintle – and the clubhouse as it is today.

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