Today New Zealand has more golf courses per capita than any other country outside of Scotland and like many places around the world the game expanded thanks to adventurous colonial settlers and merchant/businessmen who spanned the reaches of the English empire.
Scots who emigrated from the old country did so in abundance around Dunedin- the Edinburgh of the South. It is here where we have the first appearance of the game in New Zealand (1863) and where Scottish influence remains today.
Below is a list of the early golf clubs in New Zealand. In my research I found it interesting to read about the Kiwis' strict adherence to R&A rules, albeit a bit delayed due to the gap in communication to the UK. This physical isolation also caused issues in establishing golf due to problems obtaining decent equipment. All of the talented club makers existed in the home country.
New Zealand was a world apart from any other for 80+ million years. This has served as a pro and a con! Although the distinct ecosystem and untamed beauty draws people around the world to experience the country, a supply chain issue persists for even the largest golf brands as evidenced by the astounding amount one pays for a sleeve of Pro V1s in New Zealand versus USA!
Tip: Bring extra balls, and any extras at the end of your trip make great gifts for club members you may play within while in country.
Links for the clubs below are to their individual history pages. Enjoy!
- Balmacewan- Otago Golf Club (1871), Present site since 1896
- Shirley- Christchurch Golf Club (1873), Present site since 1900
- Awamoa- North Otago Golf Club (1893)
- Hutt- Hutt Golf Club (1892), Present site since 1909
- Middlemore- Auckland GC (1894), Now Royal Auckland
- Awapuni- Poverty Bay GC (1893), Present site since 1913
- Levels- Timaru GC (1894), Present site since 1904
- Belmont- Wanganui GC (1894), Present site since 1908
- Heretaunga- Wellington GC (1895), Present site since 1907, Now Royal Wellington
- Hokowhitu- Manawatu GC (1895), Present site since 1908
- Waiohiki- Napier GC (1896)
- Ngmotu- New Plymouth GC (1893)
- Bridge Pa- Hastings GC (1898), Present site since 1912
- Otatara- Invercargill GC (1900) Present site 1914
- St. Andrews- Hamilton GC (1903) Present site 1913
- Arikikapakapa- Rotorua GC (1906) Present site 1912
- Mt. Denby- Whangarei GC (1907) Present site 1916
- Titirangi- Titirangi GC (1909) Present site 1920, MacKenzie design 1927