Jan 30, 2017
by Heath Fletcher
Shooting golf has also taken me to some of Western Canada’s most beautiful world class courses - The Okanagan’s Predator Ridge Resort, The Rise and Ponderosa; Southern Alberta’s Heritage Pointe and Silver Tip. More recently I was invited to visit a more distant and exotic location - New Zealand.
A good friend of mine, who has worked in the golf management business for many years, took his family on an adventure of a lifetime to Auckland, NZ where he is now the GM of a brand new golf course, Wainui. His challenge was to take this business to market and launch an exciting new course. I was also up for the challenge and so the next thing I knew I was on a jet plane.
This was my first trip to the Southern Hemisphere and yes everything they say is true, the water in the toilet does flush the opposite direction, and they drive on the wrong, I mean right, side of the road. Other than that, life goes on just as it does here, including golf.
Wainui, 20 minutes North of Auckland in the green, rolling countryside of the North Island. My first stop after the airport was a tour of the golf course nestled amongst the 80-year-old pine trees. The views from everywhere are breathtaking. Early morning fog gave it the vibe of walking through ‘The Shire’ (of course you have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to appreciate that). Once I had my bearings, and a bit of sleep, I was handed the keys to a cart and off I went to capture the first images ever taken of this amazing course.
My task was clear, take plenty of photographs and video that can be used in marketing this facility in print and digital media. For the next 6 days I did just that. The challenge was that the place was under construction in some areas, there was unsightly construction materials and equipment, some fairways not fully grown in, traps without sand, unfinished buildings. Add that to the looming monsoon season and the pressure was on. For the following week the sun continued to shine, the sky was blue with puffy white clouds, it was go time!
The crowning jewel of Wainui is a state-of-the art clubhouse that provides the public, members and guests all the comforts you’d expect from a 5-Star golf facility including a dining room, weddings and special events facilities, corporate meeting rooms, pro shop and member’s lounge. The challenge was that the images had to look as though the facility was up and running which was still 5 months away. Luckily the furniture had arrived so it was a team effort to get it ready. Wainui staff, volunteers and myself unpacked, staged rooms, organized models, prepped food and brought the course and the clubhouse to life in an impressive collection of imagery and footage.
My time was sadly coming to an end so I had to squeeze in some touring. I booked myself a trip to Hobbiton, the actual movie set of where Bilbo and Frodo began their epic journeys - awesome! Then I braved some body surfing on the infamous Piha surfing beach where the NZ reality TV show 'Piha Rescue’ is filmed. This is one of the most rugged West Coast beaches in the country and it lives up to its name Piiiiiiiiiha!
Upon my return to Canada, the next phase of work began immediately; sorting through hundreds of images and adding post-production magic to the final selection of photos.
In the meantime planning started on designing the website. The brand was already created so our role was to implement an 'experiential style' website design by merging photography and video to provide the user with an instant experience of being at Wainui. From there we designed a variety of other marketing tools; social media brand elements; display banners; gift cards, print ads plus online video and ad campaigns.
Wainui officially opened its doors November 2016. If you are ever in the area be sure to book yourself a tee time and experience Wainui, you’ll be glad you did. Wainui - New Zealand