Golf is the most selfish and egocentric sport in the world.
Sure you play against other people but the whole focus really is on your own swing, your own body and mind.
Then there’s all the space it uses.
Name another sport that needs so much goddamn space.
This is why they make everything tiny, to rub it in.
Tiny pencils, tiny wheels on their golf carts, tiny spikes on their shoes, tiny balls and tiny holes.
Short of the Paris to Dakar Rally, Red Bull Air Races and the Tour de France, golf must be the most space-greedy sport going.
Take into account that these are niche sports, and cycling for example uses public roads which are used by motorists every day, then all those BMW drivers hitting the little balls could take the cake for the most space used by a single sport.
So with this in mind, I find myself in the slightly surreal position of agreeing with Basil Walker.
Ban all golf except crazy golf.
No, that’s not what he said.
Evict Queenstown Golf Club from the 53-hectare Kelvin Heights golf course and concrete it over for housing.
That’s sort of what he said.
That’s what that land could be worth with its large lakefront areas.
That’s $150,000 for each of us.
No rates till we die!
Basil, in his submission to council about the lease, is making a good point.
That is valuable public land, currently designated as reserve, in a prime location.
We’re overburdened with golf courses.
Only a maximum of 70 golfers are on that course at any one time over the weekend, he says.
“Can QLDC expect central government assistance when QLDC are sitting on a potential land bank of one third of a billion dollars to assist approx 100 people’s weekend leisure?” he asks.
Well, can it?
These golfers are using vast swathes of public land for their pastime.
Economist Shamubeel Eaqub agrees.
He suggests some of the 14 courses in Auckland should be sold for development land to tackle the housing crisis.
Huge areas of land for one sport.
Kelvin Heights course is the equivalent of 70 school sports fields.
There’s a shortage of development land in Queenstown whichever way you look at it.
Eaqub, speaking to Mountain Scene before he addressed the Catalyst Trust’s affordable housing forum late last month, says the resort’s council needs a massive 100-year land release plan.
The district plan review aims to address this, freeing up land between downtown and Ben Lomond Reserve for development, relaxing density conditions and zoning.
But maybe it’s time to cash in on the golf course land.
It doesn’t even have to be affordable housing or multi-storey blocks.
Sell it off for mansions or luxury hotel developments and use the money to back affordable housing in other areas, such as the proposed CBD expansion.
It can still look beautiful even if it’s not used for a golf course.
Another point I agree with Basil about is when the first Kelvin Heights land management plan was drawn up they can’t have envisaged the resort’s growth.
There’s been an $18 billion property boom since the turn of the millennium alone.
There are enough places to play, for those who want to.
They can play at Frankton or Arrowtown, or stump up for membership or green fees at The Hills, or Millbrook.
Hell, we could even pay for their membership out of our $300m.
All current Queenstown Golf Club members get free lifetime membership of The Hills or Millbrook.
Wonder how many would go for that.
Or Jack’s Point! I forgot about Jack’s Point.
See they’re everywhere.
Way too many golf courses.