Central Otago golfing enthusiasts are lining up to play in a fundraising tournament this December to support their local Otago Polytechnic sports turf students.
Up to 30 teams are expected to participate in the ‘Ambrose’ tournament which will see individuals or teams of four tee off at the Cromwell Golf Club from midday on 13 December. There are great prizes up for grabs as well as refreshments and a barbecue lunch included in the entry fee.
The tournament is the last stage of Otago Polytechnic’s year-long fundraising campaign. Once the target of $141,000 is reached, new sports turf training resources will be purchased - most notably a $47,000 top-of-the-line John Deere greens mower.
The balance of the $141,000 will purchase an Outfront Rotary Mower, Professional Utility Mower and a Walk Behind Greensmower.
As well as fundraising activities, contributions toward the equipment have also been received from the Central Lakes Trust, Community Trust of Otago, local businesses, and John Deere. John Deere will also have the equipment on display at the tournament.
Otago Polytechnic Sports Turf Management Programme Manager Gary Smith is thrilled with the ongoing support from the local community and says students and staff are really looking forward to being able to finally buy the greenkeeping equipment of their dreams.
“The greens mower is used on top international golf courses so it’ll be great to be able to give our students comprehensive training on it. Being able to operate top level specialist machinery as well as standard greenkeeping equipment will give them a real advantage when they go out into the work force,” he says.
And the students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the new equipment - Cromwell Golf Club is amongst the recipients who will get a pristine green out of it thanks to an agreement signed earlier this year between the Club and the Polytechnic.
The mutually beneficial arrangement means students get access to on-tap work experience at the golf course and the Club receives assistance in maintaining and upgrading their golf course. Both parties also save money by sharing equipment.
The equipment will also be used to groom community sports turf areas such as grass athletics tracks at the local primary schools and Cromwell College.
Otago Polytechnic’s sports turf programme is New Zealand’s only full-time turf management course and covers the management of golf courses, rugby grounds, cricket venues, and other sporting venues. It consists of a 50-50 mix of theory and practical work as well as work experience every week at top sporting facilities.
At the end of the two-year course students graduate with a National Certificate in Sports Turf Management (Level 4) which is recognised worldwide. Job outcomes are very high for those students graduating.
Both New Zealand Golf and New Zealand Cricket have endorsed the programme because students develop all the turf knowledge and skills required to secure a position of responsibility within the industry.
For more information about Otago Polytechnic sports turf management visit www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz.
For more information about the golf tournament fundraiser call Graham and Irene Mercer at Cromwell Golf Club on 03 445 0165. Entry fee is $25 for an individual or $100 per team of four.
 All players tee off, the best shot is selected and all players hit again from that same spot. The best second shot is selected, and all players hit from that same spot, and so on until the ball is holed.