Kinloch Club

This Nicklaus design offers views of both surrounding mountain ranges and Lake Taupo and will challenge even the best golfers in the world.

I can honestly say this is the number one golf course in New Zealand. For those unable to play the great links courses of Scotland, Kinloch compares with the best of them. A true links experience with Jack Nicklaus at his best.
-Sir Bob Charles after his 1st round

Designed by Jack Nicklaus (his only within New Zealand) The Kinloch Club pays homage to the links courses of Scotland and Ireland, but is located in the middle of the North Island on the north side of the beautiful Lake Taupo. Award-winning architect Andrew Patterson also took inspiration in his build of the lodge- a modern interpretation of the Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum.

Perhaps Jack Nicklaus' most visually stunning design
- Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, Vol. 5

Players should not come to this course thinking that they will play under their handicap. This course plays at close to 7400 yards and is certainly one of the toughest tests of golf in the country. Playing from the tips will challenge the best players in the world, as the greens are well protected and accuracy for the approach shot is paramount. This course requires thinking and execution even in the fairways, as the undulations throughout can really move your ball on the ground.

One of the best aspects of The Kinloch Club is that it is built on pumice and the drainage is exceptional. With only perhaps a dozen days of frost in a given year this course is open 365 days. Players should be aware that as the temperature rises coming out of the winter months, like many courses, coring will take place usually in the first weeks of October. This necessity helps to avoid thatch collapse (which builds under the greens).

If you find a golf course such as this, which has quote a bit in it, it's probably far more fun to play short rather than long. The only reason those gorilla tees are back there is for these young guys. But most people who play should play the golf course on the short side. It's meant to be a a sporty-type golf course, a fun course. Don't go back and ruin your day by playing the course too long.
- Jack Nicklaus

Changes to The Kinloch Club course since its original design have improved green complexes on holes 2 and 16. Whereas the green in the past simply would not hold a well placed shot, today players are rightly rewarded for their approach.

A more recent change (2017) has been the introduction of a fourth set of tee boxes. Having Black, Blue, White and Red to choose from helps match the length of the course more suitably to one's handicap.

Tip: If staying at the ultra-luxiurious The Lodge at Kinloch, take an afternoon time in the summer. Casual golfers will most likely be off of the course in the morning, the sun will not set until late in the evening and you will find it all to yourself much of the time. The long summer light, nearby birds and beautiful scenery will really add to the experience.

Signature Holes

3rd: Visually the most stunning hole on the front nine. This 185 yard par-3 begins with an elevated tee and a shot over a water hazard (a small lake), with lightning fast greens this hole is both scenic and a true challenge. Lake Taupo is seen in the distance.

4th: Club professional Tom Long's favorite hole, the 4th plays anywhere from 427 yards to almost 500 yards (depending on the tees). This dogleg par-4 has shallow fairway traps down the left side for overcooked tee shots. If bombed too far one is left with a downhill lie for the approach. It's a strategic hole and one will find best played the second time they see it.

10th: Another elevated tee which provides a great view of the lake.

5th: This par-4 sweeps uphill and to the left, and is complete with natural bunkers on the both sides of the fairway. Many are surprised to find that a lot of the course was moved by man in order to create a links feel rather than allow the terrain to dictate the balance of play. The fifth is a perfect example of that design sculpting.

18th: Considered by some as the finest hole to end a round in the country, this 565 yard par-5 is surprisingly one of the most approachable on the course- leaving players with a good feeling and allowing them to forget about any balls lost throughout the day. The landing zone off of the tee box is to the left and then the fairway moves to the right prior to coming back around to a green protected by water.

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Customer reviews

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 ofcourse 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

We had a spectacular time on our trip after leaving Port Douglas and all the arrangements that you made for us came off without a hitch. All flights and transportation that you arranged were on time and we were well taken care of at all the places we went to.

The Boatshed was incredible. We met Johnathan and had a small dinner with him on our second night. We were the only guests at the hotel and he and his staff just made us feel right at home. Jack and Jen, Johnathan’s staff, took us out to a couple of wineries and we had lunch together. When we got back Johnathan treated us to dinner prepared by his own self. Fantastic.

Next up was Napier/Hastings and the Craggy Range cottage. Excellent choice for us. We were close enough to Havelock North to be able to easily drive into the town and wander around. We went and played Cape Kidnapers as well. The course was wet so no carts were allowed out. Craggy Range winery was great to us and we had dinner at Terroire. Great staff and good eats to be sure. On to Queenstown.

What a wonderfully European feel Queenstown had. Small intimate streets and people all over the place. The Spire was perfect for us. Florence greeted us and was superlative in her suggestions and ideas for us to do. We did take a plane ride out to Milford Sound and the cruise. We went wine tasting and went to Amisfield for lunch where there was a spectacular sunset. It was so good that the staff came outside to take pictures. Simply wonderful. We took the gondola ride up the hill and enjoyed a glass of champagne while we took in the view. That was our last day and really enjoyable. We left the next day and flew back home.

Again, all the arrangements you made of us came off without a hitch. I even drove on the left side of the road without incident. It’s not so bad once you figure out the roundabouts. Thanks to you and your team for setting this up. Will highly recommend this service to our friends should they need to journey down under.

—​Bob E & Sharyn B, San Francisco