A premium 18-hole, championship course
The Belmont course has been the home for the Wanganui Golf Club for most of it’s 125 year history. Apart from some minor changes it remains much as it was when those pioneer club members tackled the job of creating a great course from virtual scrubland. Much has been written about the Belmont course, with it’s two distinctly differing nine holes. The undulations of the front nine give way to the flatter, almost links-like back nine. It is a course renown for the quality of it’s greens and presents a challenge for players of all abilities.
PRACTICE AND WARM-UP FACILITIES
The Club has a practice fairway, warm up nets and practice putting green.
As well as the standard 18-hole course with Blue, White and Yellow tee markers, there are also two separate 9-hole courses at the Club. The lower 9 holes (Mauve tee markers) feature predominately flat terrain and is enjoyed by the majority of the Club’s 9-hole members. The front section of the course also incorporates a 9-hole course with White and Yellow tee markers for players seeking 9 holes of golf with a more physical challenge.
The club’s pro shop carries a small range of golfing essentials along with drinks and snacks. A limited number of clubs, trundlers and golf carts are available for hire and need to be booked in advance. All competitions and tournaments are run from this site.
The Wanganui Golf Club boasts a modern, well-appointed clubhouse offering superb views of the back nine holes of the course, and out to the iconic Whanganui City water tower and eastern hill suburbs. There is a secure trundler storage area, commercial kitchen and bar, large lounge with annex and an outdoor deck with seating.
The club was officially formed on 18 August 1894 with a 9-hole course laid out in the now city suburb of Gonville. By 1905 the club was experimenting with a full course but conditions were far from ideal. The course was cramped and housing was crowding in.
In 1909 the original Balgownie links were subdivided for housing and the course moved to it’s current site. “To envisage such a humpy, overgrown, grassless wilderness as a links was too great a feat of imagination for most members. It was not served by public transport and was situated, by standards of the day, right in the never-never.” But opinions changed and within three years Belmont hosted its first NZ Open (1911). The course may have been short by world standards but it was never easy to tame what with fickle winds, testing greenside bunkers and smallish greens.
In the early 2000s fire destroyed the original clubhouse but the replacement is modern and well appointed, offering superb views of the lower portion of the course and out to the iconic Whanganui city water tower and eastern hill suburbs.
The course is continually ranked among the very best New Zealand can offer. When internationally acclaimed golf course architect Tom Doak visited Belmont he was hugely impressed with the course. For him it was the fact the course followed the natural lie of the land and that those contours offered such variety. Belmont has hosted major national and international tournaments throughout its 125 years, most notably the NZ Open championships which were played here on seven occasions between 1911 and 1978.
In his 1971 book “Golf in New Zealand”, author G.M. Kelly wrote that the Belmont course resonated of those links courses of Scotland. He said that “more than any other of our important, traditional courses, Belmont has the great features of strength and simplicity”.