Golf is a funny old game. As the old adage goes, ‘it’s the best way to ruin a good walk’. While on a particularly rough round that may be true, I would argue that often with golf courses in New Zealand, the views are so spectacular that it doesn’t matter how many bunkers you’re finding or 5 footers you’re overshooting, it’s still a great way to spend a weekend morning. And while the sport often has a reputation as being an incredibly expensive hobby, you can often find cheap beginners club sets at your local op-shop or on TradeMe to get you started. Here are a few examples of Aotearoa’s best public golf courses that make for a great day out.
Located next to the stunning Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, Jack’s Point is an absolutely picturesque course that is considered by many to be the top course in the South Island. With the Remarkables mountain range and the shimming Lake Wakatipu playing backdrop, this is course offers ample opportunity to step back from the tee and simply soak in the incredible location. At only $155 a round for visitors between the months of May and October (also the course is currently closed until 20th August), this ends up being one of the most affordable premier courses in the country, and it might have a claim to being the most visually spectacular too.
Gulf Harbour Country Club
One of Auckland’s most popular entries, the Gulf Harbour Country Club course sits perfectly on the coastal cliffs over-looking the majestic Gulf Harbour and Okoromai Bay. Situated roughly an hour out of the Auckland CBD in the town of Whangaparaoa, GHCC is another example of a world-class course that offers incredible views at a non-extortionate price, with an 18-hole knock around costing as low as $75 for Kiwi/Australian residents.
Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary
One of the country’s most unique golfing experiences, Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary offers golfers a chance to play an awesome course while at the same time fully immersive themselves in New Zealand’s natural environment. The course sits on Wairakei’s esteemed wildlife sanctuary, playing host to a wonderful array of protected native New Zealand wildlife. This is definitely a premium course that demands a premium fee (over $200 for a round) but there might not be a better course in the country to have to chase your errant ball around than this one.
Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club
This one looks fun to drive the cart around! Paraparaumu Beach holds the distinction of having hosted the New Zealand Open more times than any other course in the country, and its wavy natural dunes make it a unique challenge for even the most skilled golfers (it even hosted Tiger Woods back in 2002!). Located on the beautiful Kapiti Coast just an hour’s drive from Wellington, Paraparaumu Beach is a must play for anyone looking to tick off the country’s greatest and most esteemed courses.
Top image credit: Miles Holden