Listed by GOLF as one of the 50 best 9-hole courses in the world in 2020, Mahia Golf Club is a humble throwback links course that is routed through a low dune ridge. Located on the Mahia Peninsula between Poverty Bay and Hawke’s Bay, you can watch the sun rise and set over the sea from the clubhouse.
The club was founded in 1974 by enthusiastic local golfers with holes laid out on land leased from Captain Nigel Johnston at nearby Pahnui Station, Mahanga Beach. Ten years later, the club acquired a lease of the Kaiwaitau Block opposite the beach at Mahia so members started all over again, clearing playing corridors with loaned machinery to fashion a new 9-hole layout.
Today, the course extends to just over 2,900 metres from the back tees, playing to a par of 36, with holes arranged as two par threes, two par fives and five par fours. Fairways, many of which are bounded by lateral water hazards, play firm and fast all year round, and they lead to bunkerless greens that are trickier to read than you might at first think.
Highlight holes include the left doglegged opener (the longest hole on the card) and the 190-metre 6th (The Beacons”) which is named after ship locater beacons that were once positioned on high ground behind the green. The closing hole is also worth noting as the two mounds on either side of the raised, two-tiered home green give the hole its name of “The Cleavage”.