Golf: Hastings Golf Club

Hastings Golf Club, Hastings. Photo / Bruce Jenkins
Hastings Golf Club, Hastings. Photo / Bruce Jenkins

Full name of the club: Hastings Golf Club

Physical address of the club: 1523 Maraekakaho Road, RD 5, Hastings

Brief history of the club: Hastings Golf Club was founded in 1898, but did not move to its current home of Bridge Pa until 1912. Prior to that, the club had several different homes, in Frimley, Mangateretere and Raureka. The choice in location eventually proved to be a wise decision. With persistence from active club members, as well as skilful green keepers, conditions and membership blossomed. By 1947, the land had been tamed, and a decision was made to take Bridge Pa to the next level, with a decision to seek the New Zealand Championships.

A significant milestone in the course history occurred in 1970 when President Roy Skittrup spearheaded a plan which saw the course altered radically to provide the two even nines which exist today. By midway through the 1970s the Hastings course was being hailed as something special. Hastings Golf Club has been a venue for every major national tournament. This is a remarkable record for the club.

Hastings Golf Club has continued to prosper and evolve, with a management team dedicated to improving the course and club experience for current and future generations.

Key personnel: The club has produced many notable players of its own and unquestionably the greatest talent to emerge from the club was Stuart Jones. Known as the "Emperor", Stuart represented NZ from 1953 to 1975, and boasts one of the most stellar amateur golf careers in NZ history. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1977, named the first-ever Hawke's Bay Sportsman of the Year in 1966 and was elected to the New Zealand Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

Course description: The 18-hole layout measures 6,314 metres from the black championship tees, or a slightly more forgiving 6,074 metres from the men's blue tees. It plays as a par 72, with both outward and back nines featuring two par-5s and two par-3s. The NZ course rating of 73.9 from the black tees is evidence of the challenge in store.

The women enjoy an equally invigorating test, featuring a 5,500 metre par-74 layout, benefiting from an extra shot on two of the toughest par-4 holes for the men, the third and 18th.

Best hole: There are many great holes, but one of the most memorable is the long par-4 fifth called Flaxmere. Out of bounds threatens all the way down the right side of this dogleg right hole and then there's the two-tiered green to contend with. It's little wonder this is stroke index 1 on the men's card (stroke index 2 for the women) and if you make par here you can consider yourself a very good golfer.

Best feature of the course: First-time visitors often remark about the well maintained fairways and evenly paced and true-rolling nature of the greens, which are a delight to putt on. Hastings offers impressive practice facilities; putting and chipping green, covered Driving Range and a four hole short course. Located just 10 minutes from Hastings and Havelock North and 25 minutes from Napier the course is easily accessible from all cities. A fully stocked Pro Shop is open 7 days and also offer golf coaching from three on-site professionals.

Bunkers Cafe located in the clubhouse is one of the area's best cafes. Bunkers has some seriously good food on offer to tantalise your taste buds. The cheese scones in particular get wonderful reviews, and are commonly referred to as 'world famous'.

Course would best suit what type of player: The course is suited to golfers of any level. The selection of tee blocks on offer to play assists players with an enjoyable round of golf.

Cost of membership: Full playing membership of $1,280.95 per annum. Juniors $450.65. There are a number of other packages available including seasonal membership, 9-hole membership, student rates, twilight etc.

Cost of green fees: 18 hole affiliated $50, 9 hole affiliated $25, 18 hole non-affiliated $70, 9 hole non-affiliated $40.

- NZ Herald

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