Mount Maunganui Golf Club plans to make a bold step in a new direction and have a gym and yoga operation, open to the public, on-site in their clubhouse.
Club members are voting on the proposal, and a decision is expected next week.
The plan has come from brothers Brett and Barry Muntz who will fund the construction of the facility on the lower level of the existing clubhouse, in return for a lease on the space for 18 years.
Barry Muntz has operated health and fitness clubs in the UK for the past 15 years, most recently at the famed Forest of Arden resort in the British Midlands.
He already offers yoga classes at the golf club, as well as working behind the bar a couple of days a week.
His brother Brett is a Hamilton businessman and financial partner in the project.
The golf club sees Studio 18, as the gym will be called, offering numerous advantages to club members and to the bottom line.
It will be New Zealand's first golf-specific training facility for elite and club players alike.
Golf club members will be able to have a gym membership at a reduced rate.
But the gym, with yoga classes, will also be open to the public to either use as a gym member or on a casual basis, and those visiting the gym will be able to access the club's café and bar, and make use of the large existing car park.
Club general manager Mike Williams sees the development as part of the future proofing of the club.
"We'd love to get more people to the golf club to make use of facilities which have plenty of capacity," he says.
"We also would like to have a more diverse and sociable atmosphere around the club whereby it's not just a place for people to play golf but to come and work out, and then have a meal or a drink afterwards."
"The Mount is an area where people like to be outdoors and do lots of healthy things. So having Studio 18 offers real synergies and should work well in the community."
The great advantage for the golf club is the extension to the clubhouse would be paid for by the gym operators, and while the Muntz brothers won't play rent on the space for 18 years, the ownership of the gym and yoga area – around 320sq m – will remain with the golf club, which then has an opportunity to charge rent for the area after that.
The proposed new gym is under the existing lounge area in the clubhouse and will cut into a slope towards the first tee.
The extension out from the current clubhouse will allow for a deck of about 150sq m to also be built, overlooking the 18th green.
Williams believes that while some high-end resort courses like Kauri Cliffs and The Hills have gym facilities, Mount Maunganui would be the first traditional golf club in New Zealand to have such a facility on site that would be open to the public.
He says members' reactions during various information meetings have so far been positive. If members vote in favour, the planning and consent process will start as soon as possible.
If all goes well, it's hoped to have Studio 18 open and operational by spring or early summer 2019, in time for the Christies Floorings Mount Open on the Charles Tour in December 2019.
Disclaimer: Peter Williams is a member of the Mount Maunganui Golf Club and has voted in favour of the proposal.