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‘Dream’ golf club raffle offers a trip to The Masters as first prize

Whangamata Golf Club seeking to raise funds to rebuild its on-course flood-protection infrastructure has taken the meat pack raffle concept to a whole new international level… ending up with a prize at one of the sport’s pinnacle events.
 |  The Informer  | 
‘Dream’ golf club raffle offers a trip to The Masters as first prize

While many New Zealand golf club raffles offer up tempting prizes such as golf bags, bottles of wine, golf trundlers, and food hampers, Whangamata is running a raffle with the top lure of a luxury travel package to watch the famed Masters championship at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA.

Raffle tickets cost $100 each, and numbers are strictly limited to 2,500 tickets – with anyone able to buy into the lottery, regardless of whether they play golf or not. Proceeds from the fund-raising initiative will go specifically towards building the club’s physical resilience to floods emanating from the numerous creeks and streams which meander between its 18-holes known as the Titoki course.

Even during ‘normal’ flow periods, the Wentworth River and its tributary creeks create water hazards alongside 15 of the club’s low-lying holes. Bridges – many of which were close to the end of their life expectancy and were severely damaged by previous flooding – crisscross over from several of the course’s adjoining fairways.

This is the second time Whangamata Golf Club has run such a high-end prize raffle – with the first sweepstake last year exceeding expectations, and enabling the club to begin rebuilding course amenities which were ravaged after torrential storms in 2022, and culminating in 2023’s Cyclone Gabrielle inundation. This includes drainage on Titoki’s ‘sister’ nine-hole community orientated Williamson course in Central Whangamata.

Golf Club manager, James Beston, said the club had adopted the inspirational ‘think big New Zealand’ mantra in offering up a $50,000 raffle prize which would be the ‘dream’ trip of a lifetime for most Kiwi golfers. The raffle is licensed by the Department of Internal Affairs.

Beston said that while the golf club could budget for standard course general operations, landscaping and maintenance – such as tree plantings, vegetation control, and regularly replacing sand in the bunkers – the on-going damage inflicted by consecutive ‘one in a hundred-year’ floods had stretched the club’s finances.

“We looked at how many club scrambles and weekend event raffles we’d have to run to raise the equivalent as The Masters lottery, and it simply was huge. Years’ worth of effort. So the club’s management decided ‘let’s do one thing big, and do it well’,” Beston said.

“While all golfers, both male and female, are obviously the key target market for ticket sales, who would turn down the opportunity to accompany their ‘other half’ to North America for a holiday and to share in the excitement of attending one of the world’s most famous sporting events steeped in history and tradition.”

Whangamata Golf Club has a $500,000 flood resilience reparation budget over the next five years –with expenditure being equally split between drainage construction and bridge installation in a phased programme.

The  raffle prize comprises a pair of tickets to watch two days of The Masters in April 2025, accommodation, and enough to pay for premium economy airfares. Ticket sales went live in January, and can be made through the club’s dedicated e-commerce, with the supervised prize draw being made on April 18, 2024.