Over four years ago, Kapiti Village resident Rex Hebley was told that there was no room for a putting green at the village. Not ready to give up on the game he has played and loved for most of his life, Rex invented Putt It.
Putt It uses the bowling green to putt on, and numbered blocks represent golf holes. Having hit the block with your ball you then drag it to one side and play to the next number. The innovative game recreates golf in a village-friendly way so that residents like Rex, who have had multiple back surgeries, can still get involved.
“The fact that one does not have to bend down and retrieve your ball from in a hole has made Putt It very popular, some of our best players are in their nineties,” says Rex.
Brightly coloured golf balls are used to make recognising your own ball easier, as Rex says it was difficult to tell whose ball was whose when the game first debuted using the regular white balls.
While it was a bit of a shock to bowlers that their “sacred green” would be used for Putt It, the game has now been welcomed by all.
“Initially there was opposition from the bowlers… but when they saw that there was no risk of damage to their greens, some came and joined in.”
There’s a prize for the first hole-in-one of the day and the introduction of ramps and tunnels is making it more challenging and interesting. There’s no charge to play and a small grant from Metlifecare covers the running costs, such as spray paint and prizes for those who get a hole-in-one. The putters were kindly donated by local second hand shops and residents.