Review for Harewood

Reviewer Score:


I literally am going to cut and paste the first paragraph of another review, because it’s so relevant – “I’ve now done many similar reviews for Kiwi parkland club courses that sit between 20 and 50 in our rankings, and have also visited a few that didn’t quite make the cut. Just to recap … it seems that if a parkland course is to have a chance of being ranked Top 50 in New Zealand, it generally needs to have something extra, to help it rise above the mire of tree-lined mediocrity that you’ll find with alarming regularity in this country”.

So does the Turner & MacPherson renovated version of Harewood have something extra? Yes it does – and it’s entirely because of the work they did. I played Harewood before the reno, and it was very “meh”. It was OK – golf’s always at least OK though, because it’s golf. It wasn’t offensive, but it had nothing to speak of.

I’ve got to say that 6 holes in, I was thinking “wow”. Not because it was a NZ Top 10 course, but because they’d taken something so bland and made it really quite compelling, without actually shifting much earth or doing anything obvious or indelicate. Turner and Macpherson’s fingerprints were all over it - undulating greens that stop short of wildness, notably the Biarritz style double plateau green on 4, and the hugely original tiering of the par 4 5th. Loved the short par 4 2nd as well, driveable for the big hitters, but punishing those out of position, purely via the shaping of green and surrounds.

Maybe my expectations were raised too much, but I found myself a little sad to see the course descend too close to mediocrity for much of the rest of the round. Yes, there were still some great greens, but the holes that went with those greens were often relatively featureless. At least we had the satisfying finishing long 18th – a broad sweeping arc, with shaping and bunkering pinching the landing area for most golfer’s second shots, but certainly inviting them to attempt to execute two pure strikes to thread the needle and find the target.

Still, yet again this showcases T & M’s ability to make something worthwhile out of not a lot (see Cromwell for another great example). If you’ve got limited resources for a renovation, it seems prudent to spend it on great greens and surrounds – surely nothing else lifts a course to the next level without massive outlay.

Date: October 18, 2020

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