Pauatahanui Golf Club Est. 1966 – A Kiwi Golf Story
When you drive up the windy entrance road from the main highway, through the native bush that reminds you of the native bush this land once was covered in, you eventually reach the summit, where the course opens up in front of you, as though you have left all your cares behind you and are welcomed into a completely different world. You can’t help but feel as though you have stumbled onto a hidden golfing paradise. The greens and fairways even from your car look impressive, with gentle slopes and holes you know you need to be strategic when playing, waiting for you.
The club house is in the tradition of many a small town club, where you wouldn’t be surprised to be asked to sit at a table with a few of the regulars who’ll welcome you like old friends and will tell you a yarn or two over a quiet one. Pauatahanui is a club that truly welcomes all, where millionaires and milk men can hit some balls, enjoy a beer, and tell a story of their glory days before heading back home to reality, then do it all again on their next visit to this hidden golfing haven.
Through the help of NZTA, Pauatahanui will celebrate its 50th year in style in 2016, with a course that was rebuilt with the spirit and passion of those early pioneers, for the new generation of pioneers that make Pauatahanui their golfing home.
Our Proud History
The origin of Pauatahanui is as kiwi as can be. A group of mates in the 60’s who liked to get together and play some golf started the journey. Frustrated with not being able to get a regular tee time at a nearby private club, they decided to take matters into their own hands. As was the norm in those days, you can easily picture these blokes having a beer or two and one of them saying “why don’t we build our own club?” Who hasn’t said things like that with mates over a beer? The difference here is these mates did it.
With a bit of persuasion a local farmer leased the land to these crazy blokes who were convinced they could see 9 holes of golf on this land. These were not country club members, these were not golf pros, these were good kiwi blokes that knew what to do with number 8 wire.
On most Fridays after they knocked off work they’d head out to Pauatahanui, pitch tents and settle in for a weekend of working the land and a little bit of golf eventually. Transforming bush and farm land into a golf course is a romantic notion, however, it is a labour that takes countless hours to achieve anything that even remotely could be called a “goat track”. The comradery of these early pioneer days is the spirit that lives on at Pauatahanui today.
Over the years the standard of the course improved. It draws members as far afield as Miramar and Otaki, with most members from Johnsonville, Tawa, the Hutt Valley, and the Porirua Basin. The attractive features of this course are: privacy, quietness and the rural nature of the setting, the temperature and climate is better than in other parts of the Wellington Region. Pauatahanui feels little effect from southerlies and very rarely do they have to stop a day of golf due to the weather.
In the early 2000’s talk of Transmission Gully, a major road undertaking by Transit New Zealand now the New Zealand Transport Agency (“NZTA”) began. For thirteen years the shadow of this project hung over Pauatahanui because the far end of the course from the entrance was in the path of this much needed crown development for the Wellington region. After years of discussions agreement was reached on selling some of the land and NZTA working with the club to ensure it would survive the upheaval and one day return to being a place that so many would come to play a bit of golf and enjoy the company of their mates in the club afterwards.
October 2014 the major works began. This wasn’t a simple project. It wasn’t possible to just make two new holes to replace the two lost holes. Instead a complete redesign was required to reinstate and preserve the existing utility and functionality of the course. In addition to effectively building a completely new course, the whole time the new work was being done the course needed to remain playable. To achieve this goal, Jeff Asche, an experienced golf course architect from Perspective Design Limited (Auckland) was hired.
Today at Pauatahanui with all the major works are completed you will find a completely new course by design but the same course from the 60’s in spirit.