Frequently Asked Questions


What prizes can I win?

The Blue Flag hole, on the left side, is 30cm in diameter. The Yellow Flag hole, on the right side, is 50cm. Hitting a ball into either of these prize holes will win you a $50 voucher from the hole sponsor. We are focused on promoting other local hospitality and tourism businesses. 

The main Pink Flag hole (the big $10,000 prize) is the standard sized golf hole in the centre. If you hit the surface of the pontoon you get a free ball to play again. 


How do I know if I have won?

There are three windows on the front of the pontoon. These appear to the eye as black, but this is so when a ball rolls in to the window it will contrast with the white ball. Each hole has a pipe that will run the golf ball down to display in the window. We also have a solar powered camera on the pontoon which projects a live feed to shore so we can check this if needed. 


When is the best time to play?

Low tide is the best time as you have slightly more height advantage, or when there is less wind. 


What golf clubs do you provide? Can I bring my own?

As part of the resource consent conditions and to ensure safety, you can't use your own club or balls. We only use the Wilson range of clubs, which are the preference for the pros. We provide a range of clubs including 4 - 9 irons and pitching and sand wedges. 

The lower the number on the club, the more distance you get, but with less height (so a higher number gives you more height but less range). For some younger players or those who need some extra power, we provide drivers but only at staff discretion as these are not the best clubs to use to get the ball in the hole, which is your ultimate goal!


How do we retrieve the balls?

We employ dedicated, trained snorkelers to retrieve golf balls on a weekly basis (more frequently if required). If you are visiting us, there is a high chance you will see them working on any given day. When retrieving balls, our staff use PPE gear and are supervised by shore staff at all times. 

Did you know?

If we didn’t retrieve the balls, the business model simply wouldn’t work. Regardless of what our resource consent requires us to do, this business is only financially viable by retrieving balls to reuse. Lake Taupo Hole in 1 have been utilising this concept for the last 25 years.


What else have your snorkelers found?

In addition to retrieving golf balls, our snorkelers are also removing old items of rubbish from the water. So far this has included old bottles, cans, plastic cups and even a few golf balls that appear to have been in the harbour for some time. Some of the more interesting finds are a complete bicycle wheel, and an old bottle by R Powley & Co, bottlers for Speights Brewery


How far away is the pontoon?

It sits approximately 100 metres (109 yards) from the shore, depending on wind and tides. 

Did you know?

The pontoon is double anchored, one in the southern direction and one in the northern, to ensure it remains front on to the shore. Each mooring is 2 tonnes, in addition to the chain weight. This was done by local company Moorings Otago


How heavy is the pontoon?

Our pontoon weighs 6.5 tonnes, and was built locally by Careys Bay Marine in Port Chalmers. It is a steel structure with a special coating to ensure it is durable and remains weathertight. It has a freeboard height of 1.3m above the water.


Why are the holes sloped and not flat?

The Otago Hole in 1 Challenge was modelled on the Lake Taupo Hole in 1 Challenge, which has been operating for about 25 years. In Taupo, the tee area is a good 10-15m above the water level, so the hole is easy to see as you are naturally looking down on it. Our tee off area however is just a few meters above sea level at the most (depending on tides), so if we didn't slope the holes, you would not be able to see where you should aim for. This was a design challenge in itself. 

It's also an advantage to the player that they are sloped towards the direction of the incoming ball. 

Did you know?

When we first opened, out of the first 7 balls that hit the pontoon, one of these went into the Blue Flag hole. 


What happens if someone out on the water is near the pontoon when we tee off?

OHGC has always respected that the water is a shared space. No single individual or organisation owns it, or has exclusive rights to it. To ensure we don’t exclude other users from the space, and to work with the neighbouring yacht club, if a vessel or boat comes between the pontoon and the tee off pad we have staff onsite responsible for stopping the golf until they have passed/sailed through.

Did you know?

  • There are three other mooring points in the area that we are located. These are not being used currently, so the pontoon space only takes up the same area as would be used if yachts were moored here
  • A standard golf course doesn’t use spotters to stop participants teeing off when you’re playing ahead. These courses are in residential areas and some in the Otago region are even next to State Highways (including teeing off across roads). We have gone one step further and will only allow players to tee off if no one is in the strike zone. Customers may only use OHGC clubs and balls, and only while supervised.
  • When settlers first came to Dunedin, the Vauxhall reserve was used for all sorts of recreational activities, including clay bird shooting. You can find out more about this at the exhibits at ToitÅ« Otago Settlers Museum.


What is the impact of golf balls in the water?

OHGC was granted publicly notified resource consent as part of a joint application to the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council.

Part of this process included obtaining a report from a marine biologist. They undertook testing in the proposed area to check that the seabed surfaces were suitable for the golf balls to land on, and that the golf balls wouldn’t endanger marine life. We also tested dropping balls and retrieving them several weeks later, which was very successful despite extremely poor weather prior to retrieval.

Did you know?

If you hit a million golf balls in to Loch Ness Lake, this would only release the same amount of zinc as approximately 10 bottles of everyday mouthwash? (at OHGC Ltd we are limited to a maximum of 9,999 balls in the water at any time).

Professor Robert Weiss has completed research on golf ball materials for about 30 years, including consulting to golf ball manufacturers. A golf ball is fairly innocuous compared with most of the pollution in our oceans, and there is not enough PH (acidity) in the water to release the golf ball materials into the water. His work includes research at Loch Ness Lake to establish the impact of people hitting golf balls into the lake (to wake the Loch Ness Monster) and concluded the impact was no worse than some commercial mouthwashes (containing zinc ions) entering in to our water systems.

139 Portobello Road, Vauxhall, Dunedin 9013
Phone 027 627 6841
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