Review for Formosa

Reviewer Score:


What you think of Formosa depends on your expectations. If you are expecting a top quality beautifully maintained course, you will be very disappointed. But if you understand its history and revise your expectations, you could well be very pleasantly surprised.

Built in the 1990's as a challenging resort course on spectacular land overlooking the beautiful inner Hauraki Gulf and its islands, it hosted the NZ Open in 1996. It was stunning and very difficult. But like many resort courses, it failed to be commercially viable and fell into disrepair under successive owners. Lack of investment and proper maintenance over the last decade has resulted in a poor golfing experience, despite the setting.

BUT...the new owners (mid 2020) are making a huge effort to bring the course back into a good playable condition. Bunkers are being re-sanded, and the overall condition is improving by the week. With only a handful of members and few visitors (at the moment) and only $45 ($55 non NZ-affiliated) you can get on the course so easily, and it represents great value for money.

Overall the course is a bit resort-like - not to everyone's taste, but is very challenging with very complex greens and surrounds. With hundreds of alien palm trees lining the fairways, it can feel like you are in Florida.

Some of the greens are enormous with huge slopes, making putting a game in itself. Pick the right tees! The pro tees stretch to over 7,000 yards! The white tees are quite playable.

The front nine runs away from the coast with a number of beautiful driving holes and water coming into play on several holes. The 7th is a gorgeous par 3 now the trees have been cut back.

The back nine runs around the coastal edge, providing distracting views. Again the holes are set up to create a real challenge for the driver, but provides an easier option for 3 wood/hybrid. Hole 11 is stunning playing downhill to the coast, and then holes 15 (short par 3), 16 (reachable par 5) and 17 (mid par 4) are 3 very attractive and strategic holes.

Given the recent improvements I would really recommend a visit as its good value for money...but don't forget to have the right expectations...its still not in amazing condition, but getting better by the week.

Date: August 09, 2020

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