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New Zealand is home to a stunning array of golf courses set in incredible locations. With dramatic scenery, long stretches of coast, lush greenery, and soaring mountains, New Zealand is an unforgettable destination for golf. Luxury courses have been designed to make the most of the natural terrain and show off the best scenery. Pair these with exquisite lodge accommodation, and your golf experience will be unsurpassable. New Zealand Luxury Escapes has crafted a 14 Day New Zealand Golf Itinerary to showcase New Zealand’s top golf courses; this itinerary can be customised to suit your chosen length of vacation.
New Zealand has world class golf courses spread across the North and South Islands, many claiming world top 100 status. Below are the courses that we recommend should be included in any golfing itinerary of New Zealand.
North Island Golf Courses
Kauri Cliffs (Northland), Tara Iti (Mangawhai), Gulf Harbour (Auckland), Kinloch, Wairakei International (Taupo), Cape Kiddnappers (Hawkes Bay), Paraparaumu (Kapiti Coast), Royal Wellington (Wellington).
South Island Golf Courses
Clearwater, Terrace Downs (Canterbury), Jack’s Point, The Hills, Millbrook (Queenstown).
Kauri Cliffs is one of the most visually spectacular courses you will ever play. Designed and built by David Harman of Golf Course Consultants, this par 72 course offers five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen holes offer views of the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs which plunge to the sea. The beautiful inland holes wind through marshes, forest, and farmland.
The only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course built in New Zealand, Kinloch showcases a design philosophy that aims to enhance the natural environment – allowing the surroundings of the stunning Taupo region to shape each hole. Ranked as New Zealand’s number one golf course in 2014, Kinloch Club is often compared to the classic link courses in Scotland and Ireland. Instead of traditional sea views, this world-class championship par 72 course boasts panoramic views of Lake Taupo and the natural beauty of rugged rural farmland.
Widely regarded as New Zealand’s top golf course, Cape Kidnappers is one that every serious golfer in the world should play. Designed by legendary golf architect Tom Doak, the Cape Kidnappers par 71 course will challenge golfers of all skill levels. Built on a landscape of ridges and valleys, backed by stunning sea views, Cape Kidnappers has been hailed as one of the great modern marvels in golf. With cliff-edge fairways perched high above the ocean atop dramatic cliffs, this course offers holes unlike any you will find elsewhere in the world.
Since its opening in 2015, Tara Iti has been taking the golf world by storm. This exclusive, private golf club has debuted at No. 6 on Golf Digest’s ranking of the World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, and membership is small and hand-picked to ensure the club maintains an intimate vibe. The unadorned course gives you constant views of the coastline and offshore islands, with dramatic views of waves crashing on the white-sand beach. The course is true links, with fescue grass covering both fairways and greens. Rather than traditional tee boxes, rambling areas contain any number of possible starting positions for each hole.
Jack’s Point golf course is an unforgettable experience. Designed in harmony with the natural environment, the course weaves through natural contours of tussock grassland, dramatic rocky outcrops and steep bluffs overlooking Lake Wakatipu. With the rugged Remarkables Range forming a stunning backdrop, the par 72 championship course offers golfers an exciting challenge with five tee positions.
The Hills was designed by Darby Partners and opened in 2007 to host the New Zealand Open. Set over 500 acres of land across a glacial valley, the layout highlights the dramatic elevation changes and rocky schist outcrops that define the area. This championship layout provides a serious challenge for accomplished players, though the well-rounded design means the course is equally enjoyable for golfers of all levels. The course’s beautiful lakes, waterways, and wetland areas are complemented by a stunning array of sculptures.
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