The north east of the North Island is rather a barren desert in terms of quality golf courses, but Poverty Bay Golf Club is an oasis.
According to the history, Poverty Bay Golf Club was founded in 1893 and is the fifth oldest golf club in New Zealand and the second oldest on the North Island, after Hutt Golf Club, which was established in 1892. In the early days, golf at Poverty Bay was played on the paddocks near Waikanae Beach, but as the city of Gisborne grew, new land was sought, and a links course was laid out at Awapuni in 1913. In 1927 the club engaged the services of architect C. H. Redhead and the following year implemented his plans.
The Awapuni links is built over an old system of sand dunes near the ocean, and is not a modern day monster – 6,593 yards / 6,029 metres from the back tees. Most of the fairways are either flat or slightly undulating and run parallel to the nearby beach, following former dune valleys. Areas of uncontrolled rough border the rather narrow fairways where stands of trees and brush provide a softer, park-like feeling to the course in places. Poverty Bay’s putting surfaces are undulating, large, generally fast, and very well bunkered.
The course can play completely differently from one day to the next depending on the two prevailing winds, which are either warm and dry or cold and wet. But whatever the weather, Poverty Bay’s closing stretch can wreck a good card. Six demanding two shotters come back-to-back on the home stretch, requiring patience and solid shot making.Although a provincial course, Poverty Bay is highly regarded and has played host to several national tournaments, including the New Zealand Amateur Championship in 1991 and 1996. In the 1991 event, the Australian golfer, Stuart Appleby, posted a 66, which was the course record from the back tees until Peter Zwart fired a 64 in the 2013 Electrinet Pro-Am.