The NZS.nz New Zealand golf courses article contains information on the best golf courses and clubs, including golf course and club reviews for Clearwater, Kauri Cliffs and other popular golfing destinations in Auckland, Christchurch and NZ.
Attempts to establish a golf club in New Zealand date back to 1871; today, golf in New Zealand flourishes and our scenic location has become a destination of choice for golfers. Playing a round of golf on a world class New Zealand golf course is easy; our top ten golf courses and clubs are scattered from Northland and Auckland to Otago.
In New Zealand, there are hundreds of thousands of people over the age of eighteen who play golf every year, along with many thousands of visitors and tourists. With so many enthusiastic players, golf in New Zealand is the number one recreational sport for men and the second most popular sporting pastime for New Zealand women.
From north to south, there are 385 New Zealand golf courses, including many of a worldclass standard. It’s relatively affordable to play golf in New Zealand, too, with fees at some of our best courses costing less than NZ$100. Some of New Zealand’s premier golf clubs and courses (receiving rave reviews internationally) are:
Carrington Resort – Karikari Peninsula, Northland
This Northland golf course is designed to be enjoyable for the golfing novice, while at the same time challenging for the more experienced player. While teeing off, players can enjoy panoramic ocean views. Within the complex, there are many pleasant distractions from the game, including wine tasting, clay target shooting, mountain biking, bird watching and shell gathering. Five star accommodation is also available, with an excellent restaurant, convention centre and fitness facilities.
Kauri Cliffs – Matauri Bay, Northland
The Kauri Cliffs golf course and lodge offer stunning views of the Bay of Islands. While the course is challenging, it has been named the 49th best golf course in the world by Golf magazine. The course winds through marsh, forest and farmland, giving ocean views from fifteen holes. For six of the course’s holes, the green runs along clifftops which drop straight to the sea below. The par 72 championship golf course measures just over 6,500 metres and offers five sets of tees to challenge every skill level.
Gulf Harbour – Hibiscus Coast, Auckland
Look back from the eleventh green along the length of the harbour and you’ll catch sight of Auckland City. This spectacular view is complemented by cliff-edge views and ocean panoramas. This Auckland golf course was designed by American Robert Trent Jones Jr, and is suited to players of all handicaps. Spectacular finishing holes, ocean views and rolling terrain draw visitors to this par 72 course, which spans 6,400 metres.
Lakes Resort – Pauanui, Coromandel Peninsula
A hidden escape location in New Zealand, the Coromandel Peninsula offers adventure, relaxation and a creative local culture. The Lakes Resort golf course combines natural wetlands and native bush, with an altogether unique layout covering twenty hectares. The course is famous for its back nine holes – the best in New Zealand it’s said – all demanding straight, well-placed good shots. For those who wish to stay, there is luxury accommodation offered in two and three bedroom villas.
Clearwater Resort – Christchurch, Canterbury
This Christchurch golf course has been home to the New Zealand PGA Championship and is built around a series of artificial lakes, incorporating water in fourteen of the course’s eighteen holes. With lakes, tussock and maram grass, the Clearwater golf course has a look that falls somewhere between Old World and American parkland. Clearwater golf course also has excellent practice facilities where golfers can improve their game off the course before play begins, as well as well-loved fishing rivers filled with rainbow trout and accessbile with Clearwater’s resident fishing guide.
Wairakei International – Lake Taupo, Taupo
The centre of the North Island is a hotbed of geothermal and volcanic activity – Lake Taupo itself was created by a massive volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. Although the region has plenty of natural wonders to recommend it, Wairakei International was the first NZ golf course built specifically to attract visitors from abroad. The non-coastal golf course features towering trees and a wide, open green. The course was rated amongst the top twenty in the world by Golf Digest. A golf school package is available for those wanting to improve their game.
Cape Kidnappers – Hawkes Bay
Visit one of New Zealand’s sunniest regions for a round of golf at the Cape Kidnappers golf course – quickly gaining a reputation as one of our country’s best golf courses and a top spot internationally for a round of golf. The course was created by American, Tom Doak, who has designed award winning courses in America. Enjoy cliff-top views while you play the course, which runs on a ridge-and-valley landscape with amazing sea views. Playing from the back tees, this high profile New Zealand golf course is 6,400 metres and par-71, making it suitable for those with single-figure handicaps who are long and straight off the tee.
Millbrook Resort – Queenstown, Otago
This dramatic and beautiful region of New Zealand has much to draw visitors in both summer and winter months, notably adventure tourism activities such as rafting, bungy jumping and jet boating. But the Millbrook Queenstown golf course is an equally appealing drawcard for many – it is known as one of the finest alpine golf courses anywhere in the world, with a stunning scenic backdrop provided by The Remarkables mountain range. The course is 6,412 metres and par-72, making it accessible for golfers of all handicaps, and was designed by Sir Bob Charles.
Terrace Downs – Windwhistle, Canterbury
Another Canterbury golf course, Terrace Downs, boasts a magnificent scenic location and offers the appealing solitude of countryside surroundings, letting you relax and concentrate on your game. The 18-hole course runs to a length of 6,400 metres and is par-72. At an altitude of 450 metres, the course offers wide fairways, with seventy bunkers, many grass hazards and eight lakes. Located just an hour from Christchurch city, Terrace Downs golf course is well-loved in New Zealand golfing circles.
The Hills – Queenstown, Otago
A private championship course, the Hills Queenstown golf course will host the New Zealand Golf Open in 2007 and for the following two years. Located near historic Arrowtown, the course is owned by successful New Zealand entrepreneur Michael Hill, who says the event “will showcase the region and its attractions around the world.” Working with expert golf course designer, John Darby, Michael Hill has created an NZ golf course that stretches to more than 6,500 metres and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and landscape. Four-time New Zealand Open champion, Sir Bob Charles, has said the venue will offer “not only a great test of golf for the players but also great viewing for spectators.”