Rotorua Golf Club

Active thermal pools complete with bubbling mud make this 'experience course' unique to New Zealand. Golfers looking to appreciate a piece of New Zealand outside of the super-luxury will understand why Rotorua continues to draw both Kiwi and visitor alike.

Rotorua GC

Rotorua Golf Club is one of the oldest golf courses in the country. First established in 1906 the current location of the club was settled on in 1912. In January, 1927 the club was visited by Alister Mackenzie after arriving in New Zealand via ship from Australia. Although records are scattered, he did meet with fellow golf architect Charles Redhead at that time and wrote that he played "in a foursome over the best course in New Zealand, and at the end of the round we had lost between us 14 balls." To which course Mackenize was referring to in his statement is unknown, however he was in the Rotorua area and confirmed that he advised Redhead on the placement of a few bunkers and trees for the course.

Whether in the area to fly fish or searching for a bit of New Zealand golf history, Rotorua GC provides a golfing experience that can not be had anywhere else. Gurgling mud pools and steaming thermal vents line parts of the course and make playing a round here like doing so in the Jurassic-era. The area is well-known for being a historic location for sulfuric activity and relaxing mud spa's. Rest assured however that while playing the course is not nearly as... effervescent?... potent?... odorous? ...as other parts of the town.

If you are not accurate this course will eat golf balls... as it perhaps did to Sir Alister so many years ago. For slightly easier play and a round with the locals, try next door's nine-hole "Thermal Course."

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Info Play and Signature Holes


3rd: Players should take care to pay attention of their tee shot- as over-cooking it will put the ball into a creek that runs from side-to-side and prior to the raised green. Advice: take an iron off of the tee and leave a full wedge to the elevated pin. Other notable holes include 14, 15, and 16 which are played around a lake. When instructed in the clubhouse to secure an extra ball or two, these holes are the reason why

14th,15th, 16th: These three holes all play around the thermal pool, with the par-3 14th easily swallowing golfballs.

"They have a course in Rotorua, in the middle of the volcanic region, where the turf is as good as on any golf course. Its excellence seems to indicate that an excess of sulphur is favourable to the development of the finest of the dwarf golfing grasses.

The founder of the club was a cockney, and in addressing the preliminary meeting, said, 'We will 'ave the only course in the world that 'as 'ot 'oles, for 'azards.' The course is indeed full of'ot 'ales where balls frizzle up and explode. At intervals there were geysers spouting 100 feet or more, natives cooking and doing their washing in the adjoining hot springs, sulphur fumes everywhere, and many places where a stick is charred if it is pushed through the turf." - Alister Mackenzie

Customer reviews

My wife and I, along with Sandy and George, arrived home about two weeks ago from a trip to New Zealand that you facilitated. The four of us have been traveling together for 47 years after meeting in a small Bed & Breakfast in London in 1971.  We have traveled extensively in Europe, Canada, United States, and South America.

New Zealand was a distant stretch for us, and then we asked Julie for help on the recommendation of friends and she took us to you.  And that was our lucky day!

The five weeks we spent in New Zealand were possibly the most seamless, best organized trip we have ever experienced.  The accommodations were outstanding, everyone of them. The accommodations fit very well with the itinerary that we gave to you. Each and everyone exceeded our expectations from Auckland to Invercargill.  The people we met in the B&Bs were very accommodating and attentive to all of our needs. We did not consider them as hosts but rather New Zealand friends.  The food was excellent.  Tour suggested excursions were always right on target.

I believe the only thing that would have made the trip better was to stay longer.  This was meant to be a onetime experience, but already there has been suggestions of a return.

Thank you for your part of this fantastic adventure!

—Carol and Bob P., PA, USA

Frank. Debi and I thank you for our wonderful trip to NZ. You and Bill are special people, and we look forward to keeping you as extended family! You are certainly welcome back anytime, and we will look forward to seeing your wonderful family if/when we get out to LA-- maybe Clippers in the playoffs? Blessings to your family.

I will get with Debi, and see which pictures make us look the youngest! If you need any "references or testimonials" that I could share, just let me know how I can help.

—Carlan and Deb Y., Oklahoma City (2016)