Auckland council plans to develop public golf courses

Auckland Council is interested in hearing the public’s views on whether to develop public golf courses and provide better access to green space.

Chairman of the council’s parks, arts, community and events committee Alf Filipaina said as Auckland continues to grow at a rapid pace there are competing demands for land – putting pressure on the council to “increase the benefits of public investment”.

“Public golf courses are usually large patches of open space and there is a lot of potential to open them up to more Aucklanders,” Filipaina said.

The council was considering making space for new playgrounds, walking, running and cycling trails, and other sporting and recreational activities, he said.

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There are 13 golf courses operating on 535 hectares of land owned or managed by the council, covering an area 1.25 times larger than Auckland city centre.

There are 13 golf courses operating on 535 hectares of land owned or managed by the council.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

There are 13 golf courses operating on 535 hectares of land owned or managed by the council.

This publicly owned land has an estimated value of $2.9 billion.

The draft Auckland Golf Investment Plan has provided overall direction for future use and investment in the region’s public golf courses.

All decisions regarding individual golf courses would be made on a case-by-case basis and would depend on the expiration date of the leases.

Takapuna Golf Club is the first to expire in 2025, while Muriwai Golf Club would retain its lease until 2094.

Auckland Council’s active leisure manager Dave Stewart said it would also work to meet the needs of the 100,000 Aucklanders who play golf each year.

Almost all golf courses in Auckland were traditional 18-hole courses, suitable for more experienced golfers whose numbers were “dwindling”, Stewart said.

“We are seeing a dearth of entry-level golf options for those looking to get started.”

The exclusive use of public land for golf was “unsustainable”, he said.

“Some Aucklanders are not enjoying the benefits of golf and as a council we are forced to meet a wider range of community needs.”

A man plays golf at Chamberlain Park public golf course in Waterview.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

A man plays golf at Chamberlain Park public golf course in Waterview.

The decision to reallocate the golf courses was controversial.

In 2018, Auckland Council identified housing as a potential land use on six of the region’s public lands.

The courses were Chamberlain Park, Clarks Beach, Remuera, Takapuna, Omaha and Waitematā.

However, the plan was short-lived, with the council backing out of the decision a year later.

The public consultation is open until April 20. For the full proposed plan, more information and how you can express yourself, visit akhaveyoursay.nz.

Michael C. Ford