Jul 22, 2021

Terrace Downs Under New Ownership

To preface this blog post: When the border to New Zealand opens again a member of our team will visit Terrace Downs and view any changes in-person. A thorough inspection of the service, grounds and accommodation choices is the only way we can truthfully recommend a property or a course. While we are excited that there is interest in restoring and improving this property, our intention is to ensure it is up to the standards our clients expect for their time in New Zealand.

This is how The Best of New Zealand ensures the service we provide is consistent.

... with that said....

Every few years the golf community in New Zealand is stirred up about the possibility of a new golf course build. As you can imagine, there are many factors which may prevent the construction of a new course: financing, environmental studies, the right location, government approvals, and return-on-investment are only the start.

A few recent potential and successful projects we will continue to write about in this blog include:

  • South Island: The proposed courses in Cromwell and Glendhu Bay -adding to public offerings in Queenstown and Arrowtown
  • North Island: Tara Iti's "sister" public course and the recent merger between Auckland and The Grange (see more below)

In the end, creating a top golf course from scratch is a big undertaking! It's expensive, time consuming and risky. This is why, for all of the accomplishments of the world's top golf architects, many take on restorations and renovations in between major builds.

Queue the long forgotten Canterbury resort of Terrace Downs.

2000- 2012: Built in the early 2000s on a beautiful location above the Rakaia River, Terrace Downs is located on the South Island about an hour west of Christchurch. The resort was originally owned and developed by Japanese professional golfer Shinnosuke Saito.

His vision was to introduce a public/private resort with golf between Queenstown and Christchurch. International flights could land directly into Christchurch and would allow easy access for owners of the 50+ villas on the property.

The course itself was designed and completed in 2001 by Sid Puddicombe & Assoc. The Canadian designer has worked on a number of courses in New Zealand including most recently on the Royal Auckland Grange Golf Club combination. Click here for a resume.

Against a beautiful mountain backdrop there are a number of very nice holes, including the 10th; a downhill par-3 with the a lake background. Another par-3 on the 16th hole overlooks the Rakaia River below. For more information on Terrace Downs click here.

Unfortunately, the resort underwent multiple management changes over the years and a lack of funding brought a mixed bag of long-term vision for the resort. Service suffered, and in time Terrace Downs seemed directionless. Would it be a top golf resort? Would it be a getaway for locals? What was the long-term aim?

2012- 2019: In 2012 Japanese investor Hiroshi Hasegawa purchased the property via permission from New Zealand's Overseas Investment Office (OIO). Although the resort remained viable, the course was never really considered along side other Internationally-recognized builds in New Zealand. With Mr. Hasegawa's sudden death in April, 2019 of Covid-19 the future of the resort fell again into question.

Present Day: Terrace Downs was bought at auction in late 2020 by CPG hotels for NZD $6.6 million. The very savvy Pandey family has recently bought hotels in several locations around New Zealand and performed an initial re-freshening to the grounds and the clubhouse. We are happy to report Terrace Downs reopened in March, 2021 and is again open for play!

Future: Renovations on Terrace Downs will continue in 2021 and there are plans for additional amenities (day spa, etc.). To arrive at the same level as other Internationally-known resorts we suspect that additional facilities will need to be constructed... however, we look forward to the progress and will stay on top of it for you!

Author: Frank Krieger