The Omaha Beach Golf Club will welcome some big hitters to its course when it hosts the 2018 Long Drive New Zealand Nationals for the first time in March.
The club will host around 60 golfers on March 25, in what will be the country’s third long drive nationals event. Long drive events are won by the player who can hit the ball furthest within a grid that is 450 metres by 45 metres.
Omaha Beach Golf Club general manager Mike Reid says the variation on standard 18-hole golf is a lot of fun.
“The audience doesn’t have to be quiet so everyone really makes some noise for their favourite players, and there is a lot of hype around the play,” Reid says.
“We are hoping to set a high standard at this year’s event so we can make it a permanent fixture on our calendar and grow it from there.”
Hugo Hunt got a pleasant surprise to find his ball in the hole for a second hole-in-one in the space of three days.
The event was previously held in Remuera and picked up by International Golf Associates New Zealand (IGANZ) this year, with hopes to expand it.
“We have contacts at IGANZ so it wasn’t a difficult process to take on this event as we’re keen to make it one of our biggest in time,” Reid says.
Visiting golfers will include world number three Maurice Allen and world number 48 Anthony Thomas, both from the United States.
Former Omaha club member Iain Dick, ranked 87 in the world, will also be competing for the first prize – an all-expenses paid trip to attend the Volvik Long Drive World Championship in the United States, valued at $15,000.
The club will also be holding the North Island Championship on March 24, the last chance to qualify for the national event.
Meanwhile, junior golfers have been lighting the course up with three hole-in-ones struck during December last year.
Hugo Hunt, 16, hit his first ever hole-in-one on December 22, before hitting a second just two days later at the Omaha club, both on par three holes.
On December 29, Luke Old, 13, hit the first ever hole in one on the 1A hole, which has recently been added to the course.
Two days later he followed up with a score of 68 on the course, two under par.
“I’ve had two holes-in-ones in my whole life so for one of our juniors to get two in a week is pretty special,” Reid says.
“We’ve got some strong players coming through and the growth has been consistent over the past few years.”
The club currently has about 30 juniors and 640 members altogether.