Formosa - North Island - New Zealand

Formosa Golf Resort,
110 Jack Lachland Drive,
PO Box 80,
Beachlands,
Auckland,
New Zealand


  • +64 (0)9 536 4715

  • Bob Charles

The up-market golf resort of Formosa is a 45-minute drive (or a short ferry hop) to the east of Auckland. As a member of the Best of Golf New Zealand group of premier resorts, it can be taken for granted that golf will be great at a venue considered good enough to host the New Zealand Open in 1998.

Laid out on a large 440-acre cliff top site and modeled on Augusta National by course architect Bob Charles, the 18 holes at Formosa are the centerpiece of a resort that includes 50 villas, a conference centre, pool, spa, tennis and squash courts on the property.

The course runs along cliffs above Hauraki Gulf so some sensational sights out to sea can be guaranteed to raise your spirits even if the dozens of bunkers and hundreds of Pohutukawa and palm trees planted around the course are hampering your golf game!

The feature holes at Formosa are those between the par threes at the 11th and 15th, along the edge of the cliffs. The best of these holes is probably the 540-yard, par five, right doglegged 12th, where a waste bunker down the left of the fairway and two greenside bunkers short right of the offset green are formidable protectors of par.

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Reviews for Formosa

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Description: Laid out on a large 440-acre cliff top site and modeled on Augusta National by course architect Bob Charles, the 18 holes at Formosa are the centerpiece of the resort. Rating: 3.8 out of 6 Reviews: 4

Very much a resort style course it none the less has some very good holes. Hole 5 represents a spectacular short par 4 with real risk vs reward options and 12 is a scenic but challenging par 5. All the par 3s are very challenging especially if the wind is blowing. Unfortunately the course has suffered from lack of maintenance of late with all bunkers turned into GUR due to lack of sand. Hopefully it can return to its former glory.

3 / 6
Formosa
July 15, 2018


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Kerry Hawksworth
October 02, 2018

Abysmally neglected course… bunkers scoured of any sand… signage missing on many tees… fairways inconsistently mown. A once proud venue reduced to crud.

When I moved to New Zealand nine years ago, I remember seeing this clifftop course bordering Auckland Harbour from the plane – it was the first glimpse of New Zealand golf that I saw, and I remember thinking it looked pretty decent from the air, although a bit resorty maybe. Then all I read online was that it copped a lot of flack, mostly for its conditioning, but also the design. When I became the NZ Correspondent for top100, I got to find out what the Kiwi golfing fraternity thought of it, and frankly, it seemed to be the most polarising course in the country (Arrowtown aside).

So to cut a long story short, I did not know what to expect. And you know what? It’s actually pretty good. Yes, the bunkers are in terrible condition, they don’t drain properly, and as a result are often rock hard. The club / resort is well aware – I was told that this was the next area for investment, and so it should be. But the conditioning otherwise is totally fine, not incredible, but nothing unbefitting a mid-range resort course, and certainly nothing to complain about.

As for the design, well, erm …. it’s a mid-range resort course, very much from the era it was built in, and appearing to be aimed squarely at the Asian market. It’s not an architectural masterpiece by any stretch, there are no classic holes, but almost every hole has something to recommend it (except maybe the short 7th, which seems like an awkward, uphill par 3 that simply links 6 and 8). There’s even some quirk – I’m talking 17 here, with its colossal beanpole of a cabbage (?) tree in front of the green.

Ultimately though, I walked off 18, and thought that I’d like to come back. I don’t know why, I wouldn’t normally feel that way about conventional resort courses, maybe it was low expectation going in, but I fancy another crack. Especially once the bunkers are sorted.

Matt Richardson

4 / 6
Formosa
September 18, 2017


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Must be improving. Had a round couple of days ago and the course was in great condition. I played with a member who mentioned there had been a change of management so maybe this is making a difference. Fairways and greens were immaculate though more sand in the bunkers would be nice, (no grass in them though). Thoroughly recommend a round actually. Stunning views too.
5 / 6
Formosa
March 31, 2012


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Shabby
February 03, 2013
Played here on a Sunday. You'd expect the greens to have been mowed for the weekend but it looked like they hadn't been touched for a week. Also, all the greens were absolutely inundated with duck poop. What a shame to see such a well designed and located layout looking so tatty. In its current state this course doesn't deserve to be in the top 100, let alone top 40. Get your act together Formosa.
Paul
May 18, 2013
Played here with my wife a couple of weeks ago and loved the course. Played a highly rated course north of Auckland the day before and we thought the layout and design of Formosa was superior. I understand where you are coming from regarding the condition of the course but it appears to be improving as the condition was only marginally below that of a top 10 course. Would play here again any day.
Could be a great course and would be worthy of a Top 20 ranking if only they looked after their asset better. Great course, poor condition and crap service equates to an average rating.
3 / 6
Formosa
August 17, 2010


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August 17, 2010
Not sure when this was written but Formosa is the picture perfect example of great design great location great idea ... shocking management and maintenance... its shabby, poorly kept and the greenkeeping standard is abysmal, the worst part is that this course is a fabulous design and if it had had the investment it deserved it could have been in the top 10. I have played 9 of the top 10 and 20 of the top 30 and agree with most (I am a Muriwai member) I can think of several golf courses that should be catogorised above Formosa from Waipu to Keri Keri and Lochiel to the Grange there are several other courses deserving to be listed higher than this one ... and sorry if it sounds a bit savage but they deserve a kick up the arse for wasting what was a great design and great peice of land with crap course management and lack of investment
O Molyneux
October 11, 2010
Totally agree with the above comments. An impressive, yet depressing example of how not to manage a golf course. Grass now grows in many of the 'bunkers'. I'm actually surprised that they mow the course. Reasonably priced; but that is in some ways a tacit acknowledgement of the terrible course condition.
disappointed
December 30, 2011
I am a local resident and agree with the comments above. There has been steps to correct some of the issues but they really need a lot of investment. The greens staff do what they can but there is simply not enough. The Management need to think again. Every time i go to play and pay a green fee they try to charge me overseas rates just because i have an accent. After three time's playing there I would expect to be asked if I would like to join but alas if they don't want my business. I've run sports clubs and gaining peoples details is essential but again not even that. Start from the start and start again I'm afraid. The course design is awesome so if you can put up with substandard fairways and just enjoy the views and challange then book a tee time but make sure you mention up live in NZ.