Mount Maunganui Golf Club shares its name with the extinct volcano that rises above the course and also the town – known locally as “The Mount” – which is a popular surfing resort, located across the Bay of Plenty from the city of Tauranga.
The golf club began in 1935 when a band of sportsmen and women contemplated the challenge of developing a golf links next to the sand dunes of the then infant town of Mount Maunganui. Charles Redhead, then New Zealand’s only acknowledged golf architect, drew up plans free of charge, by invitation from his friend Fraser Baddeley, the club’s captain.
At first there were only 9 holes, then 13, and just before World War II, the full 18 were completed. However, in 1941, the land the course stood on was sold and subdivided, and the club went out of existence. In 1947, 92 acres was purchased by a trust, and the course was redesigned, with an additional 9 holes created by Redhead and H.P Dale.
Throughout the changes over the years, the course has maintained the same basic layout of 60 years ago and it’s set on sandy soil, a few hundred yards away from the beach. It’s certainly not a long course by today’s standards, measuring close to 6,100 metres from the medal tees, but it’s a pleasurable layout, especially if you are having a straight driving day and your putter is on song.
Since its beginnings, the development of the club has continued, with a superbly designed clubhouse – opened in 1998 – as well as the upgrading of many green and tees. A recent irrigation overhaul ensures that the course is almost always playable, and can handle the large amount of golfing traffic that Mount Maunganui enjoys. Over a hundred trees have recently been removed, opening up the links to reveal the contours of the land – the club has been quoted recently as trying to achieve a ‘wooded links’.
Mount Maunganui was host to the New Zealand PGA Championships during the 1960s and 70s and has additionally hosted a number of notable tournaments more recently, including the 2000 NZ Men’s Amateur Championship, the 2002 Asia Pacific Championship, and the 2003 NZ Women’s Amateur Championship.