Plans to create a top-100 links golf course in rural Horowhenua are becoming clearer, with the man behind the project saying it will be priced affordably and run with minimal impact on the environment as possible.
Xero co-founder Hamish Edwards, through his company Grenadier Ltd, is seeking resource consents to develop Ōhau farmland into an 18-hole golf course.
A keen golfer himself, Edwards has said he doesn’t want to comment publicly on the project until resource consents have been issued.
But a statement from Edwards, included in documents Filed with Horizons Regional Council for a consent hearing in May, outlines the Genesis of the project and why he picked Ōhau.
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His statement also notes the project will cost as much as $ 50 million.
His family had lived in the wider Wellington region, including Kāpiti and Wairarapa, for more than a century.
He grew up in Wellington and spent time playing in the Dunes and sea while staying at a nearby family beach house in Waikanae.
The course name follows an Edwards family tradition of naming the first son in each generation Douglas, as well as being Edwards’ father’s first name.
His time playing golf had taken him Overseas, including to links courses in Ireland built up to 200 years ago, he said.
The “amazing sense of place [and] history ”at those courses set him off looking for land in New Zealand to produce a similar course.
The land in Ōhau was perfect for links golf, he said.
“We believe we could possibly build a golf course that will be rated as a top 100 golf course in the world.”
The course would be for all players, priced fairly and available for all, they said.
“We will not build an exclusive golf course for wealthy, overseas tourists.”
There would be accommodation on site so people could stay to enjoy the views of the land, Ōhau River and ocean from the clubhouse, they said.
He wanted Douglas Links to be an “eco-led golf course”, with walking-only play, minimal built objects, the adjoining Dunes returned to their natural state and information shared about the ecology of the area.
“We want the land to look pure and natural.”
The project would involve removing all exotic species, with pine tree removal set to take about a year, he said.
The low prices mean the course will not make massive profits, with any money made reinvested into caring for the land.
If the golf course did not go ahead, the land would probably become housing, a retirement village, or remain as a farm with the Dunes further degrading until all native species were overtaken by Exotics, he said.