Middlemore, as the Auckland Golf Club is better known, was originally founded in 1885. The club moved twice before settling on the present location 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.
The course is laid out on gently undulating ground and, although the soil is predominantly clay, the course remains dry and playable thanks to extensive drainage improvements over the years. The golf at Auckland is truly excellent, it’s an interesting parkland layout with stands of pine trees separating some fairways.
Measuring close to 7,000 yards from the tips, Auckland is a tough test but when the course is set up in its competition livery it’s a daunting challenge. The last New Zealand Open to be 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 has replaced the homely wooden building, which stood for so many years, and the members now enjoy world-class facilities. Talking of members, you’ll need to befriend one to get a game here. Auckland is 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, will be 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 is responsible for the course layout.
A statement from the new Royal Auckland and Grange
Golf Club follows: “The project will be carried out in two phases, the first
being the construction of the 13 holes on the Grange property, the bridges and
clubhouse. These elements will be completed in early 2019. Phase two will see
the balance of the holes constructed on the Middlemore property, along with the
driving range, all to be complete in early 2021.”
Disappointing dated course which only seems to be here by virtue of its "Royal" status. Extremely well presented all the same and with the recent takeover of the Grange real estate and a Jack Nicklaus redesign into a 27 hole course we can expect great things. But for now its place in the top 50 needs review.
An average (and perhaps outdated) layout immaculately presented. The club obviously realised this and through amalgamation with the adjacent Grange Golf Club are about to embark on an ambitious 27 hole redevelopment designed by Nicklaus Golf.