After a grandiose beginning, Gulf Harbour Country Club went through a period of serious financial difficulties. In 2008 a consortium of members rectified the situation, the club was rejuvenated and is now a most viable, member owned facility.
Located on the Whangaparaoa peninsula, on shores of the Hauraki Gulf, just 30 or so minutes north of Auckland, this superb Trent Jones layout offers a world class golfing experience and is a course I consider worthy of a significantly more lofty ranking position. The club has been a creditable host venue for the World Golf Championships and the NZ Open.
Measuring almost 6,400 metres from the tips. Gulf Harbour boasts a rating of 74.8 and a slope of 136. Playability at this track is excellent. The course offers five sets tee blocks, thereby, adequately catering to the scratch marker and the higher handicap players alike.
Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the greens and fairways had recently been cored [a necessary evil] and due to unseasonably heavy rain, the course was ‘quite wet’. The conditions, however, did not detract from the outstanding design and spectacular scenery which abounds on this great course.
Your round commences meekly enough and gradually builds beautifully through 7 and 8 and into an outstanding back nine, where the panorama from the short par 4, 12 is sensational.
16, a 394 metre par 4 is index 1 on the card and is followed by a great par 5 of 510 metres. They wend their way along and across the cliff tops in spectacular fashion, where fortune favours the brave, to a grandstand conclusion to the round at 18.
The spacious greens are quite undulating and at their best, [not recently cored] are reportedly, receptive and provide a universally true but testing putting surface.
The fairways are generally wide and accommodating, and typical of Trent Jones design, each offer a variety of risk and reward options. From the tee, correctly selecting a fairway location, in most instances, critical. This said, on many holes, a ‘bail out’ location is at the disposal of the long marker to ensure a pleasurable round for all.
The 19th does justice to the Gulf Harbour experience with a welcoming clubhouse, providing excellent service and typical Kiwi hospitality.
Date: December 03, 2015