Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
Some 80 miles north of Christchurch (largest city on the South Island), along New Zealand State Highway 7, lies the resort town of Hanmer Springs.
This pretty alpine retreat features Hanmer Pitch 'n' Putt, which opened in 2007 - a layout that over the years has matured into a great course with wildlife and natural (albeit seasonal) water hazards. Designed by Rodney Hale (who co-manages the facility with Mellanie Brown) to test the short game, it has now become a popular activity for families as well as skilled players.
Hanmer Pitch 'n' Putt course at 88 Argelins Road, Hanmer Springs is an excellent destination for everyone. Beginners can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere while advanced players can sharpen their short game. Families can come and enjoy the course and take time out in the picnic areas. Hanmer is also a great location for corporate events, weddings and parties with a large gazebo and marquee available. A barbeque can be accessed on request and the clubhouse sells refreshments and snacks.
The club provides free play for all local children with gratis school holiday programmes including lessons and tournaments. Since providing this to the community, several of these children have joined as members of the club and also of the adjacent Hanmer Springs Golf Club, ensuring the ongoing membership growth for that facility. Many of these children would never have started playing without this opportunity. In recent times, Hanmer Pitch 'n' Putt has developed a relationship with the Canberra International course (regular host venue to the Australian Open) in Australia, and has held Virtual Tournaments with their antipodean neighbours, for both children and adults. Echoing one of FIPPA's key tenets that Pitch and Putt is a sport for all, Hanmer has a casual local membership of which the youngest player is five and the most senior is 96!
Hanmer Pitch 'n' Putt features 18 holes ranging from 24 to 80 metres, which combine to create an experience like no other in Hanmer Springs. Players need only bring their pitching wedge (or preferred wedge), and putter to enjoy a round or visitors can hire clubs and balls from the clubhouse. A driving range is also available. Testament to the course's difficulty is that the course record stands at 51.
Elevated tees, water hazards and small island greens abound at Hanmer Pitch 'n' Putt. Trees and sand traps add to the challenge.The 2nd hole stretches to just 41 metres but the pitch must avoid water front and left along with sand on the right. There aren't many hazards on the 51 metre 5th but the green looks a minuscule target from the tee. Longest hole on the course is the 14th at 80 metres where the teeshot must fly arrow straight through two parallel lines of tall trees. The tiny green at the dinky 15th (just 24 metres long) is well protected by sand bunkers. More towering trees frame the fairway of the downhill 60 metre 16th. Water snakes its way all along the length of the 18th - the home hole measures 49 metres.
Reflecting another of FIPPA's central maxims, one of the greatest pleasures of the Pitch and Putt course at Hanmer Springs is that a full round of 18 holes can be easily completed in less than two hours. Available to visitors all year round, weather permitting, during the summer the facility remains open until dusk.
The course (which was lovingly endorsed by the late Dr. Jan Crawford of the Queen Mary thermal reserve) is conveniently located only eight minutes walk from Hanmer Springs Village, using the Crawford Walkway and for drivers, free parking is provided.
Hanmer Pitch 'n' Putt is an iconic attraction to the village, being at present (October 2019) the one and only 18 Hole Pitch and Putt course in New Zealand. Access the course's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hanmerpitchnputt/. Telephone Hanmer Springs Pitch 'n' Putt at 03 315 5176.