What are the Top Golf Courses in New Zealand?

When clients ask about "the top courses in New Zealand" it can be tricky to answer. Certainly the Tara Iti's of the world quickly fly to the top of most lists. The design of the course, its setting and surrounding grounds are immaculate. Tara Iti's beauty is undeniable. 

Full stop. It's amazing.

However, aside from the cursory "one player's 'top' courses aren't necessarily the same as another" argument... how realistic is it to make lists that include such exclusive courses like Tara Iti and Augusta National. Especially when they can not be actually be played other than by invitation or membership!?

Ranking golf courses is sort of like ranking favorite music albums. It depends on one's mood at the time, the company you keep, experience level, and what you are looking to get out of the experience. Perhaps a better way to think about "top courses" when visiting New Zealand is to start by taking into account what you want to get out of your trip to the country and then fit a plan to play golf into an overall itinerary. 

A few things to consider:

  • What is your handicap?
  • Are you looking for an experience that you can not have at home?
  • What is your budget for greens fees, caddies, etc?
  • How long do you have in the country?
  • At what time of year do you plan to visit?
  • Is the goal to challenge yourself with a handicap-busting course or are you looking for more accessible shots? 
  • Does culture and meeting local Kiwis matter to you?

Stuff magazine recently released their "Top 10" golf courses to play in New Zealand based on fun and how likely they would want to play the course again. Tara Iti was at the top of the list. And again, although no doubt an absolutely jaw-dropping place to play, it is also unreachable for 99.999% of the world. So where does this leave those who want to visit New Zealand and play golf? And how effective are these top 10 lists for the average traveler?

Maybe the answer is, rather than checking off bucket list boxes according to what we read on the internet as a "top course", we assess our own goals for visiting New Zealand. We have no idea if authors of "top 10" lists have even played new courses that have come online in New Zealand over the past few months, nor if they have gone to places like Kaitaia in the Northland or Muriwai on a crystal clear day when the waves are 6 feet and spraying!

Enjoying the country, whether for its beauty, people or great golf is really why we take the time to visit in the first place, isn't it? Advice: Don't worry about lists and map your golf itinerary to your own time, goals, and experience!

Picture: Muriwai golf Links

Reference in article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/g...