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 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

Here’s a picture of two very satisfied customers for the firms website. I’m happy to give you a testimonial!

—Larry H, New York City

Frank and the Best of NZ team were exceptional in their planning support and execution of our trip to NZ North Island. We gave them the parameters - dates and golf courses we wanted to play and the pacing we wanted for the trip in terms of days in each region - and they produced an absolutely amazing trip for us. All of the arrangements were flawlessly executed and we sailed through the trip effortlessly. their expert advice - how much driving vs. in country driving would be ideal for us to maximize our experience, the excursion to Cape Reinga which was amazing, having our dinner prepared the first night after a long day getting to Bay of Islands was perfect and the selection of accommodations in Hawke's Bay was brilliant.

We will never forget the spectacular views from Kauri Cliffs golf course, the jet boat rides in Taupo, cycling through the vineyards in Hawke's bay and ending up sipping chardonnay with lunch at Clearview winery, the splendor of playing golf among the birds and grounds at Wairakei, and of course the spellbinding course at Cape Kidnappers.  We could tell Best of NZ have strong relationships in NZ because the people we encountered in NZ as our guides/hosts reflected just that - professional and friendly. NZ was an amazing, epic experience for us and we could not have asked for better support and execution from Best of NZ/Frank and his team. We cant wait to go back, this time to the South Island!!!! 

Thanks again Frank, YOU are the Best and the Best of NZ is truly the BEST!!

—Peter & Karen S., San Diego, CA