New Zealand is known for its beautiful landscape and stunning golf courses. With over 120 courses across the country, it’s no wonder why New Zealand has become a popular destination for golfers from around the world. Whether you are looking for a challenging course with plenty of hazards or a links-style course that takes advantage of the breathtaking scenery, you can find it in New Zealand. In this article, we’ll present you with fifteen of the best golf courses that New Zealand has to offer.
Tara Iti Golf Club
Tara Iti, the sensational golf course located just over an hour north of Auckland, has quickly made a name for itself in the golfing world since its opening in 2015. Designed by renowned architect Tom Doak, the course presents a natural landscape style that showcases the sandy soil, hummocks, and natural bowls that have seemingly been sculpted by wind and time.
Its unique layout features fescue fairways, waste areas, and, surprisingly, no formal bunkers. The absence of bunkers only adds to the challenge for golfers of all levels, making a caddie a must-have for carrying bags and offering advice. While Tara Iti is a private club, enthusiasts can experience the course by making one visit, making it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
Address: Mangawhai 0975, New Zealand
Jack’s Point Golf Course
Jack’s Point golf course, situated between Queenstown and The Remarkables mountain range, opened its doors to golfers in 2008. The course boasts a length of 6,388 meters and is a challenging par-72 course. John Darby’s design philosophy prioritizes minimal disruption to natural features and he has artfully sculpted the course from the local landscape.
The course utilizes rocky outcrops, wetlands, tussocks, and century-old stone walls that were built for the original farm. Among the most breathtaking holes is a stretch from five to eight, situated alongside the stunning Lake Wakatipu. Though it may be a tough walk for those without carts, Jack’s Point is widely considered to be Darby’s best creation to date and a must-play for golfers seeking an unforgettable experience.
Address: McAdam Drive, Jack’s Point, Queenstown 9371, New Zealand
Cape Kidnappers Golf Course
Cape Kidnappers Golf Course is a true masterpiece, designed by the highly-acclaimed golf course architect, Tom Doak. This course is a challenge even for experienced golfers, measuring 6,569 meters and boasting a par 71. However, it’s not just the difficulty level that draws visitors, but the stunning scenery that surrounds the course. The back nine is particularly stunning, featuring views of Cape Kidnappers and a rugged ridge.
The signature hole, the par 5 15th, has been declared by many as the best golf hole in the world- including no less than Australian PGA star Adam Scott himself. With no trees or water hazards, the course is instead peppered with tricky green-side bunkers and rolling hills that will test even the most skilled golfer. If you’re looking for a world-class golfing experience in a breathtaking location, Cape Kidnappers is a must-visit course.
Address: 446 Clifton Road, Te Awanga 4180, New Zealand
Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club
Paraparaumu Beach is a Golf Club located just an hour north of the New Zealand capital, Wellington. Designed by Australian Open winner Alex Russell, this 6,014-meter, par-71 course has hosted 12 New Zealand Opens and rightfully deserves its reputation among golf enthusiasts.
Its rolling, meandering course presents the classic bounce and roll shots integral to links-style playing, providing a genuine challenge for skilled players while still offering a memorable round of golf for beginners. With large greens that roll true and wide fairways that offer the chance for birdies, there are no weak holes on this course. When the breeze picks up, the challenges become even greater, making this course stand out as an outstanding beacon of golf excellence in the Wellington area.
Address: 376 Kapiti Road, Paraparaumu Beach, Paraparaumu 5252, New Zealand
Millbrook Golf Club
Situated in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, Millbrook is a world-renowned golf resort that is sure to delight any golf enthusiast. Designed by none other than Sir Bob Charles, the 27-hole course is divided into three nines, each offering its own unique challenges and stunning views while the other is still in the planning stage.
The Remarkables and Coronet nines combine for a championship 18-hole layout, while the Arrow nine adds a bit of fun and levity to the game. This impressive facility has received numerous accolades, including the 2011 Gold List Award for the best overall golf resort in the world by Luxury Travel magazine.
In addition, Millbrook has been the proud co-host of the New Zealand Open with The Hills since 2014, and in 2017, the resort hosted the final two rounds for the first time. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the sport, Millbrook is the perfect destination for a round of golf that you won’t soon forget.
Address: 1124 Malaghans Road, Arrowtown 9371, New Zealand
Designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Kinloch opened in 2007, boasting a links-style course adorned with fescue and heather grasses and a parkland feel. This 6,734-meter golf course provides an ultimate challenge to test your skills from tee to green. The fast and sloping greens demand a putting stroke that can withstand the test, while the par 4 10th hole leaves you in awe with a breathtaking view of the course and Lake Taupo.
The course is laced with elevation changes, challenging carries, and split fairways on the 8th and 16th holes to keep your game fresh and on its toes. The back nine provides spacious greens with dramatic short and long holes ranging from steep zones to angled greens that will challenge your strategic thinking and play style. Located beside the picturesque Lake Taupo, Kinloch is a golfing experience unlike any other.
Address: 261 Kinloch Road, Kinloch 3377, New Zealand
Kauri Cliffs Golf Course
Kauri Cliffs, located just half an hour north of Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands, is a golf course that has garnered widespread acclaim from around the globe. Designed by David Harman, this par-72 championship course spans 6,528 meters and features six picturesque holes that weave along cliffs hovering over the roaring sea below. While the opening holes can offer a sense of calm and ease, the following holes present a series of challenging obstacles that demand players’ utmost focus and composure.
The signature hole, the par-3 7th, aptly named Cavalli, sits on a narrow ridge line that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Cavalli Islands in the distance. The back nine, on the other hand, flows through serene marshes, lush agricultural estates, and pristine forestland. Many consider the par-4 17th to be one of New Zealand’s most exceptional holes, providing an unforgettable experience to players of all levels. Alongside illustrious amenities and services, the club boasts a clubhouse balcony offering an unrivaled vista of the surrounding landscape. Golf enthusiasts should not overlook Kauri Cliffs when searching for their next golfing destination.
Address: Matauri Bay Road, Matauri Bay 0478, New Zealand
Queenstown Golf Club
Positioned in the stunning Kelvin Heights peninsula, the Queenstown Golf Club provides golfers with an unforgettable experience. The 18-hole course, built in 1975, spans across 6103 meters and has a par of 72. What sets this golf course apart is not just its challenging layout, but also the breathtaking views of the surrounding alpine waters and the iconic Remarkables mountain range.
The course is a true representation of New Zealand’s natural beauty, making it an internationally renowned destination for golfers worldwide. The golf club is situated in the heart of a “kiwi” recreation oasis, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy local historic sites, public walkways, cycleways, a sheltered beach, and boating area. Golfing enthusiasts can expect to enjoy the best golfing conditions all year round – whether you’re playing under the summer sun or the glistening winter frost.
Address: 759 Peninsula Road, Kelvin Heights, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Wairakei Golf Course
Since opening in 1970, Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary has become a premiere destination for golf enthusiasts. The course, designed by Peter Thomson, Michael Wolveridge, and John Harris, was thoughtfully crafted to make the most of the natural undulations of the landscape and nearby pine forest. With carefully placed bunkers, ponds, and waterways, this 6,460-meter course poses a challenge to even the most skilled golfers.
Although it was given a design refresh in the 1990s by Thomson and Wolveridge, much of the natural beauty has remained unchanged. In fact, the course recently underwent a significant replanting of native and exotic trees, and is now home to a variety of wildlife, including pheasants, kiwis, and deer. As if the golfing experience weren’t already unique enough, the entire Wairakei property serves as a sanctuary for flora and fauna, making it a truly special destination for any golf enthusiast.
Address: Wairakei Drive, Thermal Explorer Highway, 3377, New Zealand
The Hills Golf Club
The stunning and challenging course, set on over 100 hectares of a former deer farm, is the setting for the NZ PGA Championship. This par-72, 6,596-meter links course is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges that deliver spectacular views and create an awe-inspiring atmosphere. The 10 lakes and various ponds provide an additional challenge to golfers who can’t hit straight, while native grasses and tussocks create an added sense of difficulty.
The Hills is known for its artful touch, with Mark Hill’s distinctive sculptures scattered throughout the course, including the five-meter tall Weta sculpture on the first fairway and the bunker-styled clubhouse. Overall, the Hills is a world-class golf course, providing a challenge for golfers of all levels, and an unforgettable visual experience for all.
Address: 164 McDonnell Road, Arrowtown 9351, New Zealand
Royal Wellington Golf Club
With origins dating back to 1908, Royal Wellington Golf Club boasts a rich and storied history. In 2013, a complete redesign of the course was undertaken by Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson, resulting in a superb parkland course for the enjoyment of private members. The renovation saw the addition of four new holes, while nine others utilize the original corridors, and five have remained unchanged.
Built on an ancient riverbed, the course is home to thousands of magnificent trees and various forms of birdlife, while creeks and a large lake make for an unforgettable experience. Standing out amongst the many great holes on offer, the fourth hole is particularly notable, featuring a split fairway situated on either side of a serene stream. Wellington Golf Club, which gained “Royal” status in 2004, was first founded in 1895 and has been a cherished part of the local sporting and social scene ever since.
Address: 28 Golf Road, Heretaunga, Upper Hutt 5018, New Zealand
Arrowtown Golf Course
Arrowtown Golf Club, established in 1911, is a unique haven for golf lovers. The club initially started out as a six-hole course, but it was later disbanded. Fortunately, in 1935, new land was acquired, and the front nine was opened for play in 1936. The club acquired new land on the opposite side of the road in 1971, to develop a further nine holes.
Apart from its historical significance, the course is set in a picturesque landscape, surrounded by natural valleys and troughs, with every hole offering an awe-inspiring view of the mountains. Although the course measures only 5409 meters, it makes up for its lack of length with its dramatic land formations and fairways lying between tiny valleys. With a backdrop of breathtaking scenery and challenging holes, Arrowtown Golf Club is truly a unique and memorable experience for any golfer.
Address: 166 Centennial Avenue, Arrowtown 9371, New Zealand
Titirangi Golf Club
Titirangi Golf Club, originally named Maungakiekie Golf Club, is a testament to the brilliance of its designers. The course’s complex terrain has been used to create a challenging and engaging experience that golfers from around the world adore. The natural beauty of the area has been preserved in the design with many of the holes following the contours of the land itself.
In the mid-90s, a restoration project began on the course, with Alister Mackenzie’s surviving individual hole drawings and routing maps used to revitalize the course. The resulting course is a scenic tour-de-force with a diverse range of holes set amongst the lush and beautiful New Zealand bush and rainforest. Rated the best course in Auckland, Titirangi is an exquisite experience every golfer should try.
Address: 11 Links Road, New Lynn, Auckland 0600, New Zealand
Gulf Harbour Country Club
Gulf Harbour is New Zealand’s only golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., offering avid golfers a unique challenge. Situated 25 km north of Auckland, this course is routed along a rolling hillside with constant elevation changes. As we move towards the back nine, the course truly shines with stunning panoramic ocean views, along with the Auckland city skyline in the distance.
However, the highlight of the front nine is the short par four seventh hole, which remains a favorite among many golf enthusiasts. Measuring 5907 meters off the members tees, the Gulf Harbour course is not short in any means. Due to the elevation changes and undulating nature of the course, it can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Moreover, Gulf Harbour has an interesting history, having hosted the 1998 World Cup of Golf, which adds an exclusive dimension to this highly regarded course.
Address: 180 Gulf Harbour Drive, Gulf Harbour, Auckland 0930, New Zealand
Christchurch Golf Club
Christchurch Golf Club, established over a century ago, proudly holds the title of being the second oldest golf course in New Zealand. Originally located in Hagley Park, the club moved its course to the Shirley suburb in 1900. The current layout, extended to 18 holes in 1910, boasts a strategic design thanks to a revamp in the 1990s that saw many trees being removed. Although lacking in greenery, the course still manages to maintain a parkland feel.
Hosting the New Zealand Open eleven times, Christchurch Golf Club is renowned for its championship-level standards. This course challenges even the most seasoned golfers to navigate their way past the cunning layout of greens and bunkers. Without question, Christchurch Golf Club is a must-visit for any golfing enthusiast in the area looking for an exceptional golfing experience.
Address: 45 Horseshoe Lake Road, Shirley, Christchurch 8061, New Zealand
New Zealand is a golfer’s paradise, with courses ranging from rugged links to undulating parklands. The country has something for everyone, from the amateur enthusiast to the professional touring pro. With its stunning scenery and challenging tracks, New Zealand is often referred to as “God’s own golf course.” Whether you’re looking for a leisurely game or an adrenaline-filled tournament, New Zealand has the perfect course for you. So pack your clubs and hit the green in New Zealand!