By ROBYN BRISTOW
Having members huddle in a container in the middle of winter to socialise after a round of golf has not been ideal for a small North Canterbury golf club.
But Scargill Golf Club members are now enjoying an inviting, warm, and bright clubhouse, which can also double as a meeting place for the community.
The clubhouse and community hall were victims of the November 2016 earthquake. Just a couple of weeks later, a quake centred in the Scargill-Greta Valley area finished them off.
The club’s old concrete block building took a hammering. Waghorn Builders secured part of the building, which club members used for a bit, but with daylight showing between the blocks it was obvious the 1960s building had seen better days.
Club president Nick Fairbairn set out to secure funding to boost the club’s insurance payout of $130,000. It was a meagre sum because the club had followed many others after the 2010 Canterbury quakes in lowering its insurance cover because premiums had soared.
“That wasn’t going to pay for a new building,” Nick explains.
She turned to the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board for help, being successful with two applications, and a grant of $5000 from the Kate Valley Landfill Fund also boosted the coffers.
Meanwhile, a container and the tractor shed were put to use as a temporary home for members and gear.
“We sat in the container for a bit, but there was not much socialising going on. It was mid-winter,” Nick says.
Waghorn Builders, which had helped the community for free when the Scargill-Greta Valley quake hit, such as taking down damaged chimneys, was given the rebuild task, which started in May.
The roof was lifted, the concrete pad retained and the building pulled down. It was rebuilt on the same footprint.
The Glenmark Lions Club paid for, and built, a veranda along one side.
“We have a tiny bit of funding left to build paths.”
Nick says none of what has been achieved would have been possible without the huge voluntary input and help of Stu Loe and Jack Burrows, who were on the building committee with her.
“It was such a good club and community effort to get this done. They all supported me and helped. It was just amazing throughout the process. They would jump in and roll up their sleeves at working bees, bring along their tractors and all sorts of gear to help out.
“That is what small rural communities are all about, and it is now a facility for the community too, not just the club,” Nick says.
The community lost its community hall to the quakes, and after a recent public meeting in the clubhouse, Nick says it is an ideal community venue.
A grand opening is being held on Sunday, October 20, starting at 9.30am with an invitation for the public to come and celebrate the new community asset with a morning tea. At 10.15am there will be children’s golf lessons, followed by adult lessons to introduce people to golf, or help others perfect their game. An Ambrose Tournament, involving alternate shots in pairs, will be held with any non-golfers paired with golfers for 9-holes of fun.
A barbecue will follow.
A free social membership is on offer for a year for any new members signed up on the day.
This entitles people to have a hit around for free, but will not entitle them to play in any club fixtures.