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new zealand: Accommodations - Golf - Other Activities

New Zealand Golf Courses

Happily, one of the places where the “Royal and Ancient” game took hold with a vengeance is New Zealand, a nation of breathtaking beauty with residents of uncommon graciousness, particularly when it comes to visitors from the United States.

With some 400 golf courses, New Zealand has the highest per capita ratio of courses to people and they come in a staggering variety, from simple rural courses set upon farmland to elegant resorts that are the rival of any in the world. Just as in the United States, New Zealand’s courses offer a variety of vistas ranging from snow-capped mountains, to dense parklands to ocean views from holes that run atop dramatic cliffs.

Kauri Cliffs
Designed by: David Harmon
Par: 72; 7120 yards

Kauri Cliffs is an eye-popping layout that overlooks the ocean. It was named 49th best course in the world by Golf Magazine and awarded Best New International Golf Course in 2001 by Golf Digest. The inland holes wind through marsh, forest and farmland, and 15 holes have sea views. Six holes are played along the dramatic clifftop that plunges into the sea.


Gulf Harbor
Designed by: Robert Trent Jones
Par: 72; 7000 yards

Gulf Harbor is the only course in New Zealand designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The course was the site of the 1998 World Cup of Golf and hosted the 2005 New Zealand Open. Peter Wall, a director of Gulf Harbor, says 'Our vision is to develop and maintain the facility as New Zealand's premiere international golf course. We do aim to host more world-class professional tournaments but in the meantime we believe we offer one of the best golfing experiences for players of all handicaps'.


cape kidnappers
Designed by: Tom Doak
Par: 72; 7000 yards

The spectacular Cape Kidnappers is set 460 feet above sea level with glorious views across Hawke’s Bay. Doak designed the course using his minimalist philosophy, characterized by the utilization of natural topographical features and restraint in earthmoving. Cape Kidnappers is not true links terrain, instead the land tilts toward the sea as a series of ridges jutting out toward the edge of the cliffs. Yet, the play is seaside golf at its finest.


Designed by: John Darby and Sir Bob Charles
Par: 72; 6712 yards

Clearwater is built around a series of man-made lakes, bringing water into play on 14 holes. The overall look of the course includes lakes, tussock and marram grass, with neatly manicured bent grass fairways and greens. It is a unique mix of between an Old World links and an American parkland course. The par 4 18th, one of the best finishing holes in New Zealand, plays from an elevated tee to a green that juts out into a lake bringing water into play short, left, and at the back.


terrance downs
Designed by: David Cox and Sid Puddicombe
Par: 72; 7005 yards

Located in the foothills of the Southern Alps, Terrace Downs is breathtaking. At Terrace Downs, Mother Nature herself provided the foundations for the perfect golf course. The resort's 550 acres of pristine High Country are set against the dramatic backdrop of Mount Hutt - creating a course that is as picturesque as it is challenging.


Designed by: Sir Bob Charles
Par: 72; 7012 yards

Millbrook is without question one of the finest alpine golf courses in the world. It is relatively wide open with many elevated tees that highlight the spectacular mountain scenery. Featuring impeccably groomed fairways and greens, demanding hazards and meandering waters, and surrounded by the backdrop of the Remarkables mountains, golf at Millbrook is an exhilarating experience. The par 3 13th has one of the most elevated tees and may be the most picturesque hole on the course, while the par 5 18th is one of the finest finishing holes in New Zealand.