19th hole proves too much for competitors

By Andrew Ashton of the Hokitika Guardian

Rescue volunteers at the Sand Dunes golf event on the West Coast were repeatedly called on to rescue tipsy competitors. Photo / Thinkstock
Rescue volunteers at the Sand Dunes golf event on the West Coast were repeatedly called on to rescue tipsy competitors. Photo / Thinkstock

Several boozed up competitors in the annual Sand Dunes Classic charity golf event on the West Coast on Saturday toppled into the Hokitika River.

Surf Rescue organiser Max Dowell said volunteer rescuers made more than 30 trips across the river mouth as they ferried 100 "drunks" - four at a time - by boat from Southside to Hokitika beach to allow them to continue on the traditional beach course.

"Some managed to stay dry in the boat," Mr Dowell said.

"We do it every year because it is the only suitable vessel to cover the safety aspect. This year we built a wharf on the south side to keep out sand and grit. No one fell off the wharf but a couple did fall in when getting out at the other side."

On the whole, everything went well and he added that competitors were kept safe at all times during the river crossing.

Fifty-six teams took part in this year's event, with some teams starting from Mahinapua golf links, while others started from the sewerage ponds at Two Mile, before finishing in the middle of Hokitika beach.

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