Two Waikato golf clubs bordering the Waikato River south of Hamilton have voted to advance merger discussions.
Lochiel and Narrows golf club members held special general meetings at the same time on Thursday August 2.
In a majority decision at both clubs, members gave their executives the authority to implement a merger while acting in the best interests of each club.
Sport Waikato chief executive Matthew Cooper said the decision was an historic one and meant the clubs would have one golf club with two 18 hole courses which members could play.
"This gives the clubs' 1100 members choice, solidarity by size, buying power and 365 days guaranteed golf, weather permitting," he said.
"We've helped both clubs get to this point because we believe what Lochiel and Narrows are doing is looking forward, not back. They've made a decision which will not only be in their members' interest, but also Waikato golf.
"For clubs to continue in any sport, they need financial stability, growth opportunities and an eye to the future. I salute the courage and vision Lochiel and Narrows golf club members have shown," said Cooper.
Narrows Golf Club president John Bridle said members at his club had some concerns which they sought assurances on.
Lochiel and Narrows both have teams in men's and women's division one championship pennants next season. It will be the first time in Narrows 77 year history.
"Our players battled hard all season to get that result and they were naturally concerned that chance to play in division one would be taken away from them.
"Waikato Golf assured us that we can have teams from both courses in championship pennants for the next five years.
"Both clubs have also agreed we will not sell any land or assets in the next five years without full agreement from both," said Lochiel chairman Matt Laming.
"We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We need to make changes to our constitutions which require more than the majority vote we had tonight."
That needs the support of two thirds of members in Narrows case.
"This gives us opportunities and challenges. Sure we've got a long road ahead of us but I think as our members realise what this decision means for them - access to two of the most challenging courses in New Zealand - they will continue to support us," said Bridle and Laming.
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