“New Zealand is simply an amazing golf destination. It has some of the best golf courses I have ever played. It should be a must-visit place for golfers from all over the world. You won’t be disappointed”
Lydia Ko, former number 1 ranked woman professional golfer…and New Zealander.
Do you remember the first time you picked up a golf club ? Did you raid your mum or dad’s set, or borrow from a friend? Was it in a garden or a field, at a range or on a course? The thing most of us have in common is that we started from happily unceremonious beginnings and we did it with the dream of hitting a hole in one!
You start small and dream big, and for most of us our list of aspirations grows. Those aspirations may be to just getting a round in every week, to breaking eighty, attending a major championship or the Ryder Cup; but at some point the bucket list leads to the desire to play the best courses in the world. That is why, as Lydia Ko will tell you, you need to come to New Zealand!
New Zealand combines some of the most spectacular scenery in the world with world class courses, and with its Scottish ancestry it has a history and affinity with the game. Most Kiwi courses are located near soaring, snow capped mountains or sweeping coastal stretches, all of which provide stunning natural backdrops. Not only that but New Zealand is a relatively small country making it is possible to play the best courses in just a few short weeks. You can come for the golf, but relax and enjoy the wine, spas, fishing, hiking and Kiwi good humour on the side.
With that in mind, we give you our Top Ten New Zealand Luxury Golf Courses (ordered from north to south), and what the non-golfers in your party can enjoy doing whilst you’re otherwise disposed!
1. Kauri Cliffs Golf Club
Location: in the beautiful Bay of Islands and perched on a cliff, with views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Fact: this course is currently ranked the 49th best in the world by Golf Digest.
Whilst here: go sailing in the Bay of Islands, visit Waitangi Treaty Ground, body-board the sand dunes at 90 mile beach, go on a dolphin cruise or explore Russell.
2. Wainui Golf Club
Location: just 20 minutes north of Auckland.
Fact: this 18-hole championship course was designed by Puddicombe Golf and opened in 2016.
Whilst here: explore the Matakana wine region, do the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail or visit the Sculptureum sculpture gardens, or if it’s a Saturday visit Matakana Farmers Market.
3. Titirangi Golf Club
Location: on the outskirts of Auckland.
Fact: this majestic 18 hole course was designed by the great Alister MacKenzie. Titirangi in Maori means “fringe of heaven”, which really says it all.
Whilst here: visit Sky Tower for breath-taking views of Auckland, explore the beaches on Auckland’s west coast (fish and chips at Piha is highly recommended).
4. Kinloch Golf Club
Location: with sweeping views over Lake Taupo.
Fact: a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, which has been voted the best course in New Zealand.
Whilst here: cruise Lake Taupo, go fishing, or if you’re a keen walker take on the Tongariro Crossing.
5. Cape Kidnappers Golf Club
Location: perched atop dramatic cliffs, with breath-taking sea views over Hawke’s Bay.
Fact: this course is currently ranked the 16thbest in the world by Golf Digest
Whilst here: go wine tasting, visit the nearby gannet colony, or go on an art deco walking tour of Napier.
6. Paraparaumu Golf Club
Location: just north of Wellington on the Kapiti Coast.
Fact: often considered to be the spiritual home of New Zealand golf. It’s hosted 12 New Zealand Opens and has also hosted Tiger Woods.
Whilst here: take a day trip to the tranquil bird sanctuary and nature reserve that is Kapiti Island.
7. Royal Wellington Golf Club
Location: alongside the Hutt River, near Silverstream – just north of the capital city.
Fact: one of New Zealand’s most historic clubs, founded in 1895, it is due to host the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship later this year.
Whilst here: find out about Maori culture at Te Papa Museum, or head to Zealandia eco-sanctuary to see some of the country’s most rare and endemic species.
8. Clearwater Golf Club
Location: on the boarder of Christchurch.
Fact: its hosted a number of championship tournament’s including the New Zealand Women’s Open.
Whilst here: go punting on the River Avon in the beautiful Christchurch Botanical Gardens, take a tram tour around the city, visit Cardboard Cathedral.
9. Millbrook Resort Golf Club
Location: just north of the picturesque town of Arrowtown.
Fact: home of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open 2017.
Whilst here: Explore the quaint township of Arrowtown or go gold panning and walk along the River Arrow.
10. The Hills Golf Club
Location: between Arrowtown and the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown.
Fact: New Zealand’s most exclusive course. Designed by Darby Partners it opened in 2007 to host the New Zealand Open.
Whilst here: explore Arrowtown, or head to Queenstown for the jet boating, white water rafting, hiking, bungee jumping, etc!
Plus an extra Queenstown club for luck –
11. Jack’s Point Golf Club
Location: overlooking Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu and with the Remarkables Mountain range for a back drop.
Fact: a John Darby designed course on a former high country farming station, often billed as one of the most spectacular in the world.
Whilst here: go wine tasting in Central Otago, or take a helicopter to Milford Sound.