Royal Auckland and the Grange have voted that the time is right to amalgamate
Near neighbours Royal Auckland and the Grange have voted at separate special general meetings this week by overwhelming majorities that the time is right to amalgamate into one entity, with a fresh course spread across both layouts.
The aim is to have the new club fully operational by 2022, possibly earlier, with 18 and nine-hole courses.
The Herald understands the Royal Auckland vote in favour of change was 89 per cent of the 800 members; at the Grange it was 86 per cent of the 230 members at the meeting.
The amalgamation had been brewing for a while. A year ago a hard look was taken at the idea. “We’ve got to the point where both clubs can see, and share, the long-term vision for the future,” said Royal Auckland club captain Craig Sheffield.
“I guess what we’re looking to do is create something that future generations can benefit from.”
The two clubs are spread across 102ha. Once the design of the new layout is finished, there will be spare ground which will be sold to help pay the costs of the development.
Due diligence and legal issues are the first order of business. The plan is to have that signed off by about the end of March.
The intention is that the two clubs, which have hosted 17 New Zealand Opens between them, will continue to operate as they are until the bulldozers arrive.
The two courses have 37 holes between them – the Grange has 19 – and at all times it’s planned to have 18 holes available for members, but they will vary as work progresses.
“Everybody understands exactly what it is we’re attempting to deliver,” Rob Chemaly, chairman of the Grange board, said yesterday.
“It’s about a world-class facility that Auckland and New Zealand will be proud of. The membership of both clubs have made a very courageous decision because they have said ‘this isn’t about us, this is about the future’.”