New Zealand's marquee golf courses

Throughout New Zealand there are beautiful golf courses with lush fairways and manicured greens just waiting to be played.

Throughout New Zealand there are beautiful golf courses with lush fairways and manicured greens just waiting to be played. 

New Zealand boasts almost 400 golf clubs, second in the world for the number of courses per capita so getting on the tee is never a problem. 

For a golfer visiting New Zealand there are 12 must-visit courses for the ultimate in unique New Zealand golf with each course set in entirely different landscapes. Whether it is incredible cliff top views, pristine parkland wildlife sanctuaries or challenging designs from some of the best architects in the world, New Zealand truly is a golfer’s paradise.

Kauri Cliffs

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs - perched above Matauri Bay, in New Zealand's beautiful Bay of Islands - is the centrepiece to a golfing dream realised by New York financier, philanthropist, golfer and Kiwi-phile - Julian R Robertson.

Kauri Cliffs is set on the east coast of New Zealand and ranked at number 49 on the Golf Digest list of the world’s top 50 golf courses. Four of the 18 holes run parallel to the Pacific Ocean above cliffs that plunge down to the sea.

The championship course offers five sets of tees to challenge all levels of golfer. Designed by the late Dave Harman of Orlando, Kauri Cliffs features native rough, stands of fern and intimidating forced carries over gorges. 

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is a post-game accommodation equal to none offering the very best Pacific Rim cuisine and more stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Cape Kidnappers

The Cape Kidnappers course is built on a narrow peninsula that juts out from the rugged Pacific Coast of the renowned Hawke's Bay wine region.

The super luxury lodge attached to the golf course, which opened in 2007, is one of New Zealand’s most exclusive and highly acclaimed resort destinations.

Designed by acclaimed architect Tom Doak Cape Kidnappers is ranked 16th on Golf Digest’s top 50 courses in the world and is described as a “stratospheric Pebble Beach, high atop a windswept plateau some 500 feet above the sea”. 

Cape Kidnappers is the highest ranked golf course built in the modern era (since 1949). The par 71 course is not for the faint-hearted and challenging tee shots over deep canyons will challenge all levels of ability.

The Kinloch Club

Kinloch is an internationally renowned golf course which showcases a design philosophy that aims to enhance the natural environment. Designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus the challenging course is a test of true links golf.

The world-class championship par 72 course is positioned between panoramic views of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest fresh-water lake, and the natural beauty of rugged rural farmland.

The Lodge at Kinloch creates new heights for a golfing escape or a romantic weekend away in an unforgettable New Zealand setting. 

Jacks Point

With a backdrop of 2300 vertical metres of The Remarkables mountain range and an armchair view of outstanding lake panoramas, Jack's Point Golf Course is one of the most visually spectacular in the world. 

As an 18 hole par 72 championship course it offers golfers an exciting challenge with five tee positions to choose from, providing all gofers an unforgettable golf experience.

The course has been designed around the natural landscape, with minimal excavation.  Weaving through native tussock grasslands, dramatic rock outcrops, steep bluffs and swathes of native bush to the edge of Lake Wakatipu, Jack's Point is only 20 minutes from downtown Queenstown.

The Hills

The Hills is a magnificent golf course surrounded by snow-capped mountains near Queenstown providing not only a dramatic landscape but a challenge to all golfers.

Co-host of the New Zealand open the venue is as much a destination for spectators as competitors - and has earned a reputation endorsed by the greats of golf including New Zealand’s own golfing hero, Sir Bob Charles.

A former deer farm land near Arrowtown, Queenstown, The Hills is home to an incredible array of flora including native brown top grasses and wild native mountain tussocks. Sculptures crafted by New Zealand artists compliment the natural beauty of the course’s lakes, waterways and wetland areas.

Royal Wellington Golf Club

One of only two Royal courses in New Zealand, the Royal Wellington Golf Course has recently undergone significant redevelopment resulting in a challenging new championship course. The new look course will host the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship 2017 in October. 

Contoured fairways are laced together by streams and lakes overlooked by native trees and bush. 

The parkland course is 35 minutes north of Wellington and will host the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. The top 120 amateur players from the Asia-Pacific region and will compete on the Heretaunga Championship Course designed by Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson. Turner is one of New Zealand’s best known professional golfers having played on the European Tour where he recorded four wins and was also part of the winning European President’s Cup team in 1998.  

The grand old clubhouse is the perfect spot to whet the whistle after an extremely enjoyable round of golf.

Millbrook Resort

Millbrook’s 27-hole championship golf course is home to the annual New Zealand which is co-hosts with neighbouring golf course The Hills.

Just outside, the tree-lined historic settlement of Arrowtown, and a short drive from the year-round resort playground of Queenstown, Millbrook Resort is a former wheat farm that now seamlessly combines a luxury holiday experience with a championship golf course and state-of-the art facilities that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.

The resort has been crafted into an exquisite natural landscape that has seen Millbrook scoop a steady stream of top awards from around the world.

Designed by New Zealand golfing legend Sir Bob Charles and re-imagined in 2010 by former New Zealand professional golfer and two-time New Zealand Open winner Greg Turner, Millbrook’s three courses make full use of the diverse terrain gifted by Mother Nature and have names inspired by the places that surround them.

Titirangi Golf Club

Fifteen minutes from downtown Auckland in the leafy green suburban neighbourhood of Titirangi a hidden golfer’s playground waits.

Designed by the legendary Dr Alastair McKenzie of Augusta National fame Titirangi is both beautiful and challenging. Memorable bunkers, a McKenzie trademark, means this shorter course is brutally strategic and a test to all levels of golf. The signature 13th hole, a short par 5 dubbed ‘The Wrecker’, is a truly great golf hole that requires a lot of thinking and weighing up risk or reward. 

Founded in 1909 the private members club welcomes international visitors to play the historic course. 

Wairakei Golf Sanctuary

Wairakei Golf Sanctuary combines immaculate parkland golf and a predator free wildlife haven creating a truly unique golfing experience. 

In order to achieve a wildlife sanctuary Wairakei owner Gary Lane installed a 5.5km boundary fence which is 2 metres high and prevents both climbing and burrowing animals from the property. The result is one of the most peaceful golfing experiences ever with only the sounds of protected native birds to distract you whilst you putt. During the autumn season the changing colour of the golf course is a sight to behold.

Only 10 minutes from by road from the popular tourist mecca of Great Lake Taupo, Wairakei is accessible and welcoming.

Officially opened in 1970, the course lies on 180 hectares of natural rolling countryside and was developed to meet the rigorous design standards required for world class championship competition.

Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club was where New Zealander and US Open winner Michael Campbell learnt his trade.

Paraparaumu is a traditional links layout and has featured in seven different world top 100 lists over the poast 20 years.

Only 45 minutes from New Zealand’s capital Wellington, Paraparaumu is a challenging experience for golfers but offers beginners to the game plenty of scope for enjoyment. The fairways’ natural curves means every shot requires thought as the player approaches the firm and true greens. 

Paraparaumu is a golfing experience that welcomes visitors to test their skills on one of the jewels in New Zealand’s golfing crown.

Clearwater Golf Club

New Zealand’s only British Open winner Sir Bob Charles paired up with John Darby to design Christchurch’s Clearwater Golf Club. 

The inland course has a distinctive links feel about it with breathtaking views of the South Island’s Southern Alps mountain range. Water is a common theme on this course particularly on all four of the par 3’s and tough par 4 finishing hole. 

Clearwater has hosted the New Zealand Women's Open the last four years in a row, Lydia Ko winning three of those, once as an amateur. The event is part of the Australian LPGA Tour and co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour.

The strategic layout always plays differently with the winds changing throughout the year, so every round at Clearwater Golf Course is new experience.

Gulf Harbour Country Club

The Whangaparaoa Peninsula, 40 minutes north of downtown Auckland is, is home to the Gulf Harbour Country Club.

With outstanding sea views the course is open to the elements so that when the wind blows Gulf Harbour is a true test of golf. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr the course opened in 1998 and has since hosted the New Zealand Open and the World Cup of Golf. 

The home club of Lydia Ko, the number one women’s golfer in the world, visitors to Gulf Harbour are treated to a golfing experience that will live up to the expectations of any golfing tourist.

Windross Farm Golf Course

Located only 30 minutes from the city, Windross Farm is an inland links-style course which offers a mix of flat and undulating ground, man-made lakes and dramatic and strategically placed bunkers.

The course was designed to make the most of the site’s natural environment to provide a golf experience like no other.

The clubhouse and facilities have been designed with a minimalistic and understated philosophy and they truly complement the unique golf course.

Wainui Golf Course

Just 30 minutes from Auckland City The Wainui Golf Course is an 18-hole, 6485 metre par 72 course that excites scratch golfers and challenges novices. The course incorporates the natural topography of the New Zealand countryside and captures the rugged beauty of Kiwi landscapes. 

With a links layout on the front nine and parkland on the back nine you get the best of both worlds at Wainui on this Puddicombe Golf Design championship layout.

Wainui also offers a nine-hole shirt course which plays through the property's feijoa orchard with holes ranging from 70-150 yards in length.