If you enjoy a round of golf, you will find New Zealand to be a great destination. Golf is an extremely popular sport in this country and golf courses are dotted up and down the country. New Zealand is rapidly emerging as a popular golfing destination and there are four main reasons why more and more people are choosing New Zealand for a golfing holiday:
Quality of Courses
New Zealand's golf courses are regarded as being amongst the best in the world. Several international tournaments have been held here and the New Zealand Open attracts leading players from around the world (Tiger Woods took part in 2002).
Scenery and environment
Many golf courses in New Zealand have been created to take advantage of the country's incredible natural scenery. There are courses that straddle clifftops and ocean frontages, lie nestled amongst mountain ranges, look out over lakes and much more besides. In fact, by playing golf you get to experience some of the best views in the country.
With a temperate climate in most parts of New Zealand, it's possible to play golf at virtually any time of the year.
New Zealand is one of the most affordable countries in the world to play golf and it's a major reason for the sport's popularity amongst the locals. Membership of most clubs is reasonable, as is the cost of equipment.
Playing Golf in New Zealand
Most golf clubs in New Zealand allow casual players who are not members to use their facilities and play a round of either 9 or 18 holes. For this there is a charge (called a green fee). The amount varies widely from club to club, naturally being more expensive at the more prestigious clubs.
It is also usually possible to hire golfing equipment. For all the details of when to play and the costs it is always best to contact the club before arrival if possible.
Best New Zealand Golf Courses
The best golf courses in New Zealand combine world class facilities and course quality with spectacular locations. Amongst the many fine courses throughout the country the following are regarded as the finest:
- Carrington Resort, Karikari Peninsula
The northernmost international course in New Zealand, in a spectacular coastal setting.
- Kauri Cliffs Resort, Matauri Bay
This is another coastal course, in an elevated position overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
- Waitangi Golf Course, Bay of Islands
Set behind the historic Treaty Grounds, this course has wide views across the Bay of Islands. The course is not ranked amongst the absolute best in New Zealand, but the location certainly is.
- Gulf Harbor, Whangaparaoa Peninsula
This course is at the far end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, forty minutes north of Auckland.
Central North Island:
- Lakes Resort, Pauanui
Pauanui is in the Coromandel Peninsula, about two hours from Auckland. The course itself is located in a sheltered valley and features lakes and wetlands in a unique setting.
- Wairakei Golf Course, Taupo
This is located in the thermal area of Wairakei on the outskirst of Taupo. It is the oldest international course in New Zealand (it opened in 1970) and it is probably the best known.
- Kinloch Golf Course, Taupo
Also near Lake Taupo (in the lakeside town of Kinloch) this relatively new course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 2007.
- Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, Hawkes Bay
Like the Kauri Cliffs course, Cape Kidnappers is in a dramatic location atop cliffs overlooking the ocean. It is situated in the Hawkes Bay, not far from Napier on the central east coast of the North Island.
Lower North Island:
- Paraparaumu Golf Course
This is on the windy side of New Zealand, on the west coast to the north of Wellington.
- Pegasus Golf Club, Christchurch
Pegasus is a new purpose-built town just to the north of Christchurch. Amongst its facilities is this world class course.
- Clearwater Golf Course, Christchurch
Clearwater is conveniently located near Christchurch airport and includes a number of man-made lakes to challenge the golfer.
- Terrace Downs
This course is only an hour away from Christchurch yet is in a dramatic setting; adjacent to the Rakaia River. It is a true high country experience, with a stunning view of the Southern Alps.
- Millbrook Golf Resort, Queenstown
This course was designed by New Zealand's most renowned golfer, Sir Bob Charles. As you would expect from its Queenstown location, it has inspiring mountain views and a truly alpine feel.
- Jack's Point Golf Course, Queenstown
This is in another amazing location near Queenstown, this time on the edge of Lake Wakatipu.
- The Hills, Arrowtown
Not far from Queenstown this is another relatively new course in a spectacular alpine setting. It was developed by Michael Hill, founder of the Michael Hill chain of jewellery stores and one of New Zealand's best known businessmen. The club is almost as well known for its architectural clubhouse as for the course itself.