Global Edition

Top Golf Courses of New Zealand – 2013

8.02am 14th February 2013 - Travel

Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers presents the most informed Golf Course rankings for New Zealand, writes Matt Richardson, New Zealand Correspondent

We have assembled New Zealand’s top golf courses based on detailed research, which utilises our unique process (see our ‘About Us’ page for more details). The result, we think, has culminated in the most authoritative list of New Zealand’s greatest golf courses.

This year, we have extended our rankings to a Top 50, which means 10 new entries.  Leading the way amongst these are Napier, Cromwell and Harewood. Interestingly, the latter two courses have both recently undergone considerable redevelopment, with both projects led by Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson. The common theme between the two are the new greens, which are much more undulating than at most traditional Kiwi parkland layouts, although not unusual when held up against most internationally renowned courses. They may challenge some New Zealanders’ conceptions of how golf courses should play, but the majority of people who have a passion for course architecture would wholeheartedly approve.

The biggest climber in our 2013 rankings is Pegasus, moving from a modest 38th last year to a more accurate ranking of 21. This Kristine Kerr design has already hosted the New Zealand’s Women’s Open on multiple occasions, and is one that is playable by golfers of all levels. The course itself is on relatively level ground, with the challenge being provided by lakes (in play on 10 holes) and areas of natural wetland, surrounded by waterways and native grasses. Strategic thinking is emphasized throughout, with alternate routes to the green, and many putting surfaces angled to better receive an approach from a favoured side of the fairway.

Kauri Cliffs
Kauri Cliffs

PovertyBay also makes a significant move, climbing 9 spots to number 30. This links is built over an old system of sand dunes near the ocean, with most of the holes running parallel to the nearby beach, following the troughs of former dunes. Areas of uncontrolled rough border the undulating fairways and the putting surfaces are large, fast, and very well bunkered.

Whilst the redesigned Southland, or Oreti Sands as it is better known, (another Turner and Macpherson triumph) threatens to enter our Top 10, it falls just short at present (up 4 to number 11). Our premier ten stay exactly the same this year, despite the injection of many new opinions into our rankings. This means that CapeKidnappers retains the number 1 slot for another year. This Tom Doak design has received worldwide acclaim since opening in 2004. Doak has created a course of great drama, interest, originality and beauty, and any avid collector of golf experiences should reach into their pockets and make the trip to the NorthIsland to play here.

The future also looks bright, due to the approval gained for two new exciting projects during the last 12 months. Most exciting of all is the news that Tom Doak will design a genuine links course, named Tara-iti, on land purchased by US financier Ric Kayne amongst the dunes south of Mangawhai. And the long battle regarding the project at GlendhuBay in Wanaka has been resolved in favour of developing the ParkinsBay golf course, and will be designed by John Darby and Bob Charles.

Our unique Kiwi ranking list involved gathering, analysing and processing data from a multitude of sources. So, until a definitive description as to what constitutes a great golf course has been defined, we believe that nobody does it better than Top 100 Golf Courses.

We genuinely welcome feedback; in fact we actively encourage it. So please let us know what you think about our latest list of Top New Zealand Golf Courses. We won’t ever claim to be “definitive” but we are the most “informed” golf course rankings in the business. If you’ve played any of our featured Kiwi courses, we’d be delighted to know what you think, so why not visit our site and post a course review or two?

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