The name Ngamotu, is derived from the local Maori dialect meaning The Islands, situated just off the Taranaki coast. This classic vintage New Zealand club had its beginnings in 1893 and moved to the present site in 1913. In the 1930’s the course underwent a re-design and was lengthened. In the early 1990’s a subsequent revamp saw the course again extended, to the 6000 plus metre, championship length it plays today.
The recently opened, new clubhouse was commissioned to celebrate the club’s centenary year and is ably administered by its enthusiastic GM, Simon Rowe and his friendly staff. Virtually without exception, the Kiwi hospitality was outstanding and NPGC boasts one of the more homely 19th’s yet encountered during this Kiwi sojourn. A huge call, as some were exceptional.
After a warm welcome and comprehensive briefing on the club, course and environs, we teed it up in unseasonably benign conditions. The sea breeze but a zephyr and ‘for now’, no rain. What a pleasant change.
Above, the par 3, 6th,, ‘Dell’ A simply ‘quaint’ setting and justly deserved of the title as the NPGC signature hole. Certainly, one of the most picturesque settings for a par three I have yet encountered in my world-wide golfing forays.
Par at this brilliant parkland layout is a standard 72, stretching to 6080 metres from the back blocks and rated at 70.8, with a slope of 123. Four sets of tees are available and as such, players of all standards are adequately catered for at NPGC.
‘Egmont’, the strong par 4, 5th, shown above, is appropriately designated for the Mount in the background. Named by Captain James Cook in 1770 it is also known as Mt Taranaki. The hole epitomises this outstanding parkland layout. The Tree-lined fairways are delineated by an outstanding variety of local flora. The playing surfaces are consistently good through the green with ‘nary a bad lie to be had’. Notwithstanding this track is generally quite undulating, NPGC is not an overly arduous walk and carts are readily available for we vintage proponents of the game.
Greens are of extremely generous proportions, epitomised by the expanse of the windswept ‘Moses’ the spectacular seaside 14th above. The putting surfaces are subtly contoured, fast and true, and a great test of your prowess with the ‘flat stick’. Particularly at the whim of the prevailing blustery conditions which now prevailed.
“Diversely outstanding”, springs to mind when describing the clutch of par 3’s at Ngamotu. Ranging from 187 metres down to just 120 metres. None more so than the ‘wee’ 14th. with severe bunkers front, and, I speak with authority in saying that a trip to the briny awaits anything long. Again, the prevailing wind is a serious consideration on all four as each plays to an alternate quadrant of the compass.
No portrayal of NPGC would be complete without reference to the Pohutukawa tree. Mature specimens of this iconic NZ tree are prolific on the Ngamotu course. This characteristic NZ tree produces a brilliant crimson flower which provides a spectacular splash of colour across the entire course when in bloom.
Finally, I must abide the club’s claim that Ngamotu is as picturesque as any course in New Zealand and well deserved of my closing comments: “A most beautiful walk in the park, and a fine test of golf.”
Date: November 30, 2015