Ten minutes drive south-west of Hastings will bring you to one of the surprises of Hawkes Bay. The youngest of the four major golf courses in the Bay, the Hawkes Bay Golf Club, formerly the Flaxmere Golf Club, still has room to accommodate new members. The course, built on 142 acres of pumice land at the end of Valentine Road, 10km from Hastings town centre, was designed by Commander John Harris. It was opened in 1969 after an enthusiastic group of people (some of them not even golfers) had spent many hours picking up pumice and carrying buckets of water from a tanker to the newly planted trees. Today the course looks magnificent, with wide, tree-lined, N.Z. browntop and fescue fairways and large Pencross greens. Hawkes Bay Golf Club was among the first in the country to use this cultivar for all 18 holes.
The tranquil setting has attracted much wildlife to join the members on their way around the course. Tui's can often be heard in the trees, while at ground level the doves are a picture as they gather to watch the golfers amble by. There are also wild duck, plover, heron and the very noisy pied stilts, which regularly nest in and populate the water hazards about the course. In addition to the wild-life, the course offers magnificent views, with Te Mata peak to the east and the Northern Ruahines to the west.