Don your gumboots for some classic Kaimai golf
A pair of gumboots, a piece of downpipe slung over the shoulder to hold a few clubs, and it’s all ‘FORE’ steam ahead on the sheep farm fairway as the townies tee off.
On a Friday in March, about 60 corporate ‘execs’, with a few drinks warming up the gills, will board a bus in downtown Tauranga and motor off into the grassy hinterlands of the high country in the lower Kaimai Range.
Phil Mangos from Bayleys Real Estate is the main sponsor and part of the team of many volunteers of this popular booay golfing event.
The Kaimai School Golf Classic itself has been going for about 17 years, but this is the fifth corporate year sponsored by Phil and Bayleys.
“It started five years ago with about six teams. Now it’s maxed out and is a fundraiser for the Kaimai School,” says Phil.
“We fundraised for a skatepark. Now we’re into the second year of fundraising for a fix-up of their school pool.”
At the first corporate day about $8000 was raised.
“Then we got to ten, twelve and last year we raised $20,000 for the school in one day,” says Phil.
Sixteen teams of four are bussed out from the city on a Friday to an old woolshed on the Midson’s Farm in Soldiers Rd. A total of 64 townies playing golf around the sheep dung.
“We give them a burger and a few more beers, have a health and safety briefing, put them out on the course and they wander off.”
Beca have five teams. Clearly a competitive bunch of serious golfers. There’s a Bayleys Country real estate team which Phil will lead, as well as teams from Element IMF and Pak’nSave Tauriko which also provides the patties for the barbecue, Craigs Investment Partners, Smiths Sport Shoes, GT Civil, Bristow Contractors, Flying Mullet-Papamoa, Ignite, Telfer Young and the Tauranga Boxing Academy.
Other companies have heard about it on the corporate sheep vine and there’s now a waiting list.
“They hear it’s such a great day and want to come and join in.”
The 12-hole course covering five or six hectares has large holes holding ten litre buckets and the odd trough. There’s an effort made to prepare the green for the putts.
”It starts getting mowed about two weeks out.”
Despite being relatively huge, Phil reckons it’s not easy to get the ball in to the holes.
“You need three clubs, that’s all. The bag is a piece of downpipe with a piece of rope over it. You play in gumboots, although it’s not compulsory.”
It’s up and down, over hill and dale, striding out in the ole gummies, yelling ‘fore!’ Classic kiwi farm golf, with balls dropping into gullies and over boulders, and maybe a few goldie bounces.
One teeing off place is the middle of a river towards a far hillside, providing a masterly opportunity to show off a player’s best flop shot and the inevitable wading out into the water to retrieve the ball.
“We’ve got a big rock out there with some artificial grass, and we hit it over water back on to land. That’s an exciting hole. A lot of fun.”
Once everyone returns from blasting their way around the bunkers, they’re fed again.
“And then we run an auction and that’s where the main money is generated. We have a number of auction items and giveaway prizes plus good donations from community businesses.”
Auction items and prizes range from experiences at Waimanga Volcanic Valley, Hobbiton, Fernland Spa, Te Puia and Polynesian Spa; eating out at Burgerfuel Bethlehem, CobbnCo Rotorua, Falls Café and Osteria – Matamata: and a large range of other prizes.
Phil has strong connections into the area, living and raising his family in the lower Kaimai Range.
“I just like to support the community in a practical way. It’s not about me, it’s about giving back into the community and seeing how much that school can benefit from it.”
On Saturday, March 7, the day following the corporate event, the 2020 Bayleys Kaimai Community Golf Classic, hosted by the Kaimai School PTA will be held, providing a fun family community day out. It only costs $10 per adult and $5 for students of primary and intermediate age. A maximum of six people are required per team.
“Families turn up at the same course and play golf. So all the families will come with their kids, and play anywhere from 10am to 4pm,” says Phil.
People can wear anything including gumboots and it is open to the public as well as to the school community.
“There will be Mr Whippy, barbecue with sausages, drinks, raffles and competitions. It’s a good family day.”
“We usually get about 30 or 40 people on the Saturday but it can handle more so we welcome people to contact Kaimai School for details and come along for a great day out.”