Laid out in the late 1960s by Jack Eccles across the rolling hills of the scenic South Kaipara peninsula, the course at South Head Golf Club may not be of championship length, but “Eagles Nest” the par three 10th (the club’s second signature hole) was featured in Jeff Barr’s 1001 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die.
In the early days, grazing sheep had the run of the layout so greens were fenced off to protect the putting surfaces. Income from the sale of livestock was almost five times the sum derived from green fees so the removal of the woolly ruminants in 1990 was a big financial hit at the time.
The course now extends to almost 6,300 metres from the back markers, playing to a par of 73, with holes arranged in two returning 9-hole circuits. The front nine features back-to-back par fives at holes 5 and 6 (where adjacent fairways run in opposite directions) but both these holes are eclipsed by the stroke index 1 par five 8th, measuring 504 metres from the rear tees.
On the back nine, there’s a run of six straight par fours from the 11th to the 16th, before the par five 17th offers a chance of a late birdie at the hole rated the easiest on the scorecard. The short par four 18th then rounds things off rather nicely at South Head, doglegging slightly right to a raised home green that slopes from back to front.