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Royal Auckland and Grange (Tamaki & Middlemore)

Royal Auckland and Grange (Tamaki & Middlemore)

Auckland, Auckland
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Gary Lisbon
01/03
Gary Lisbon
Auckland, Auckland
Rankings

Middlemore, as the Auckland Golf Club was better known, was originally founded in 1885. The club moved twice before settling in the suburbs of Manukau City, one of the four cities that make up the conurbation of Auckland. The new course, originally a nine-hole layout, opened for play in 1910 and it was designed by club professional Fred G. Hood and within two years it was extended to eighteen holes.

The new course at Middlemore was soon to see some real action and the first of numerous New Zealand Opens was held here in 1914. Charles Redhead completely revised the course in the mid 1920s, directing operations from a tent pitched beside the 3rd green. Further course modifications were undertaken by Peter Thomson and Michael Wolveridge in the 1970s and 1980s respectively.

GalleryGary Lisbon
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Gary Lisbon
01/03

The course was laid out on gently undulating ground and, although the soil was predominantly clay, the course remained dry and playable thanks to extensive drainage improvements over the years. The golf at Auckland was an interesting parkland layout with stands of pine trees separating some fairways.

Measuring close to 7,000 yards from the tips, Auckland was a tough test but when the course was set up in its competition livery it was a daunting challenge. The last New Zealand Open held at Auckland Golf Club was in January 2003 and fittingly New Zealand's Mahal Pearce won the tournament for his first professional title.

A spectacular new clubhouse had replaced the homely wooden building, which stood for so many years, and the members enjoyed world-class facilities. Talking of members, you needed to befriend one to get a game here. Auckland was one of New Zealand’s most private golf clubs.

In 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, granted Auckland Golf Club “Royal” status, but six years later things changed considerably.

In 2017, the Royal Auckland Golf Club merged with Grange Golf Club to create a new club called Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club. An estuary separated both courses and there was no physical link between the two layouts, so two bridges and a new clubhouse, sited on the estuary, were built to join the properties. Land on both sides of the original 18-hole courses was sold to finance a new 27-hole layout and the associated infrastructure. Chris Cochran from Nicklaus Design was responsible for the course layout.

The project was carried out in two phases, the first being the construction of the 13 holes on the Grange property, the bridges and clubhouse. Once these elements were completed, phase two saw the balance of the holes constructed on the Middlemore property, along with the driving range, during 2021-22. The 4th and 5th holes on the Middlemore nine are the only holes that remain in play from the former golfing layouts.

Middlemore and Tamaki combine to form the longest 18-hole layout on the course at 7,200 yards, while the Tamaki and Grange nines can play as short as 4,600 yards from the forward tees.

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Course Architect

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Charles Redhead

It has been claimed that by 1937, there were not more than four courses of note in the whole of New Zealand that had not been remodelled or bunkered by Charles Redhead.

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