In the making of a golf course, man and nature work in distinctive harmony. The freshness and freedom of the countryside remain but the land is also tamed by grooming, and mysteriously hanged by the aura of the game. Titirangi- the fringe of heaven- was always a glorious endowment to golf. And then, at just the right moment, it found itself stroked by a magician's wand.
Golf in New Zealand - A Centennial History, GM Kelly
Designed by the legendary Dr. Allister MacKenzie when he was visited the country in the mid-1920's, Titirangi is one of the older clubs in New Zealand. It's design came prior to Royal Melbourne and Augusta, and although the course has undergone some
modernization in recent years the spirit of MacKenzie's signature bunkering and his use
of the terrain still makes this course one of the best to play.
Technology post-WW2 resulted in golf courses which were shaped rather than needing to be designed taking into account the undulations of the natural terrain. The genius of MacKenzie was his 'naturalism' and it lends both charm to the design of Titirangi and players will appreciate this course as a living art form.
Located a short distance from downtown Auckland this is a true shot maker's course. Striking the ball cleanly is key, as this often described “brutally strategic” course has greens that are well-protected.
In 1997 Chris Pitman undertook a major restoration to help of bring back the original character of the course. MacKenzie's original design had very few mature trees and the bounce of turf at the time of his summer visit would have been accounted for in its design. A farmer's road that cut through the land was deemed too expensive to purchase at the time and has since become a larger thoroughfare. However the general layout is close to that originally envisioned and additional work continues- mostly relating to adjusting size and spacing of bunkers for power provided via modern equipment.
Chris Pitman, architect for redesign: “Like MacKenzie, I believe a golf course should be a rendezvous with nature. If possible, you leave the land just the way it is and build holes as nature intended.” The results speak for themselves as this course demands strategy and striking ability rather than brute force and length.
Play Info and Signature Holes
Those who revere MacKenzie designs will mark to the par-3s at Titirangi GC as those to pay most attention to when appreciating his genius. However, the back-to-back par-5 thirteenth and par-3 fourteenth together are an example of the accuracy demanded to master this course.
13th: Imagine having a great front 9 and thoughts which creep into your mind that you may close out the round on a tear. As you approach the 13th tee box you then notice the name of the hole is "The Wrecker".
The Wrecker!? Still feeling as confident?
This second par-5 plays only 488 yards but nevertheless can intimidate even the best players. "The Wrecker" begins with a partially blind drive to an elevated landing zone. The ball must carry a gully of native bush. As mentioned above, this hole is a perfect example of why power is less important than accuracy at Titirangi. A powerful drive will relegate big-hitters to laying up with a short iron, as a tree in the middle of the fairway obstructs lower-trajectory to the green. However, a drive with the correct distance will set up a player for a long-iron, over said tree, to the green.
Traps exist to the sides and front of a long green which slopes back-to-front. Using them in your favor may help avoid the dense native bush which surrounds the putting surface.
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