I stumbled across this course nearly two years ago during a non-golfing trip and thought it looked like a quality layout. Now It is ranked in the top 100, and with my passion to bag as many of the top courses as I can it was an opportunity not to be missed with a week off work. I agree totally with the previous comments. Walking around at half 7 before anyone arrived I could see the place is manicured to perfection, it was as if I had woken up in Tiger Woods PGA 2011 with the carpet like fairways and great definition between fairway/semi and rough. The Practice facilities are top notch and you know you have arrived at a very fine track.
The course is without doubt one of the toughest I have played off the backs. The fairways are a decent size but certainly not as generous as many other of the top modern courses I’ve played. The bunkers are expertly positioned and stray off the short stuff at your peril as it’s a guaranteed scrubby lie and a difficult recovery. In addition the length demands a lot of long 2nd shots to greens that are often narrow, undulating, angulated and protected by yet more sand! Its easy to see why nobody has broken 70 here. There are many world class holes on the opening stretch, in fact I would say the par 3 7th is the only hole that prevents a clean sweep. My personal favourites are 5 and 6 that are two of the best par 4s around. The back 9 is also excellent, though for some reason didn’t grab me quite as much as the front. Possibly because of the proximity of houses at the far end reminded me that I wasn’t all alone in the wilderness.
In addition I felt that the final two par 3s although top quality holes just looked a bit similar. I'm picking hairs here but when trying to rank my favourite courses in the world that’s what I have to do. The other thing is that this place is a bit of a trek if you like carrying your clubs around. By the end of my first round I was almost as knackered as I was coming down from the tongariro crossing the next day! The buggy made a huge difference on my second round. Finally, the pro was excellent and very willing to help, even delivering a bacon sandwich and coffee to me on the 5th hole! Overall this is a fantastic course that must be played if you are golfing in NZ. Of the courses I’ve played in the southern hemisphere I would place it 2nd behind Barnbougle Dunes.
Date: March 01, 2011