Cape Kidnappers - North Island - New Zealand

Cape Kidnappers Golf Course,
448 Clifton Road,
Te Awanga,
Hawke's Bay,
New Zealand


  • +64 (0) 6 873 1018

The longest drive at Cape Kidnappers is between the public road and the clubhouse. It takes a full 20 minutes to cover the ground from the gate to the golf clubhouse – a journey that takes your through a sheep and cattle station and bush land. This degree of seclusion means that the golf course is on pristine land, wedged between the station and the towering cliffs of the Cape. The back nine extends along several fingers of land, separated by deep gullies which dip down to the sea. Frome these points you can look beyond the cliffs and along the shoreline across the wine country of Hawkes Bay and, at the other end, the art deco township of Napier.

The owner and architect, in recognition of the nature of the land have deliberately retained a rugged feel to the course and its surrounds. There is no superfluity. The tees are marked with simple wooden pegs. The clubhouse, though luxurious within, is compact and roofed in the local style with corrugated metal.

The scale of the landscape and generosity of land utilised for the layout makes the fairways seem small by comparison. This is a visual distortion that must be dispelled in the golfer’s mind, as you need plenty of confidence to hit out at the targets here at Cape Kidnappers.

If you can keep your eyes off the cliff top views, the main golfing points of the course are the bunkers and the greens. Architect, Tom Doak, is at the vanguard of the mission to recover some of the penalty value of bunkers. His time spent studying the works of the great architects of the early part of the 20th century has given him a healthy disdain for trees and water as hazards and led him to concentrate his efforts on land shapes and greenside bunkering.

In an industry noted for its gigantic egos and questionable sense of taste, Tom Doak is a distinctively different and intelligent course architect. At Cape Kidnappers, he has created a course of great drama, interest, originality and beauty. Any avid collector of golfing experiences should reach into their pocket books and make the trip to the North Island to play this course. It is both beautiful and compelling.

The above passage is an extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.

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Description: The longest drive at Cape Kidnappers is between the public road and the clubhouse. But once on the course, if you can keep your eyes off the cliff top views, the main golfing points are the bunkers and the greens. Rating: 8.7 out of 10 Reviews: 23
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Torbjorn Lundgren
High expectations after seeing photos and other players comments. This is an amazing golf course! It's location - situated on an old sheep farm high on the cliffs overlooking Hawkes Bay. When you call from the gate to the proshop and the man says "see you in a while" he really means it. The drive beyond the gates windles through pine trees in a canyon and takes about 20 minutes. The service - low key, knowledgeble, helpfulThe clubhouse and surroundings - Petite, but including everything you could wish for. Fantasic view over the course and ocean. Lovely changing rooms. Well equipped shop.The course - Not a course to play defensly on. Often too short approaches dwindles down either side of the green and it will be very dificult to evn reach the green with the following shot. Impossible to seperate the course from the views. At least one interesting shot on every hole. You can walk the course and even with the bridges etc we were very tired after 18.Great day!
November 17, 2010
10 / 10
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David McKechnie
I had the pleasure of playing Cape Kidnappers in January of this year. It was an excellent experience from start to finish. reception and processing excellent very friendly and professional. My caddy was great he knew the course very well and was extremely good company. I booked this round well in advance by e-mail based on the website slide show. However a word of warning is that you do not get the same vista as those overhead shots provide. Be prepared for windy conditions. But enjoy the golf course. My wife's experience of the spa not so good.
October 06, 2009
8 / 10
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Alastair Price
Situated on the East Coast of New Zealand's North Island, Cape Kidnappers is a remarkable new prestige golf facility designed by American architect Tom Doak. The course occupies part of an isolated 5,000-acre sheep station and after a 8km/5 mile drive from the gates to the clubhouse you are welcomed by stunning sandstone cliff fingers that plummet 500 feet down into the waters of Hawke's Bay. With a number of holes running toward and away from these cliff edges, and even routed along the bluffs, this is one of the most compelling modern layouts in golf with some unforgettable coastal views.The course was in excellent condition, luckily the weather was good too with just a gentle breeze blowing across the course, the greens were smooth and reasonably fast, a couple like 8 and 14 are a touch extreme but the majority are subtly tilted, often elevated and with clever internal contouring that rewards precise approaches kept under the hole. Due to the severity of winds that typically whip across the heads here, the fairways are very generous giving players plenty of width and only using bunkers sparingly.Most interesting of all, however, is the 15th. Named Pirate's Plank, this is a long, wide and flat par five that follows a massive cliff finger as it gently heads down towards the edge of the earth, and there is no denying that his Cape Kidnappers creation is an impressive addition to the world's golfing menu.
April 10, 2008
10 / 10
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