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Golf in Godzone: What's on Offer in Dunedin

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

The latest news from Dunedin is that Simon Brownlee set a St Clair course record eight-under par 63 in the opening round of the South Island Amateur Championship in Dunedin.

The news reminding me that I’ve sung the praises of the courses around the Queeenstown area. Jack’s Point, Millbrook, The Hills and Arrowtown. But never written about the courses in Dunedin. So this post is especially for overseas visitors to this blog who are planning an extended visit to NZ.

St Clair sits atop the cliffs at St Clair Beach and it’s a quality course, which has played host to many New Zealand championships. It’s only about 10 minutes from Dunedin’s CBD which has a very fine statue of Robert Burns, the Scottish poet. And it's but one indicator of the Scottishness of Dunedin, which has been described as the Edinburgh of the Southern Hemisphere.

How Scottish is it?
Well, because it’s so far south in the South Island it can experience Scottish-type winter weather from June to November. So you have been warned. However on the upside if you’ve never been to Scotland and never ever attended a Burns supper celebrating the great man’s life. Now’s your chance.

One of Dunedin’s local hotels; the name escapes me, regularly holds a Burns night for overseas visitors to enjoy the whole nine yards. The piping in of the haggis followed by the toast to the haggis and then the meal. Which of course includes haggis served with the Kiwi equivalent of bashit neeps and champit tatties.

The Otago Golf Club is the oldest golf club in the Southern Hemisphere. And a must see and play course for those golfers who enjoy the history of this great game. The course is called Balmacewen and it has witnessed the presence of great names like, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Locke and Arnold Palmer. And even if there’s not enough time to play a round, visit the clubhouse, which has a display of historical trophies worthy of being on show at the R & A.

The Chisholm Park Golf Club is an 18-hole Championship links-style course, which is open to the public.

It used to be called Ocean Beach Links and Greg Turner who has enjoyed successes in the European and Australian pro tour says, "It has good turf and it's on good golfing land. It offers classic links golf. I think, that after Paraparaumu Beach, it's the second best links course in New Zealand".

Greg is a local lad therefore I will forgive him his less than objective comments about links-style courses in New Zealand. Nevertheless, don’t discount a visit to Chisholm Park just because it’s a public course.

Dunedin is also home to the University of Otago-New Zealand's oldest university and its motto is "Sapere aude" ("Dare to be wise").
And the wise overseas golfing visitor should give serious thought to playing a round of golf in Dunedin which is the old Celtic name for Edinburgh.

Here’s a link to a good web site about Dunedin.

Thought for the day: “O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us. It wad frae money a blunder free us, And foolish notion.” –Robert Burns

Thanks for reminding me Rabbie. The last time I saw my golf swing on a video I was close to giving up the foolish notion of becoming a better golfer.

Guid gowfin’ at the weekend



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