A course that rockets to New Zealand n°1 and World n°36 on its inauguration certainly raises your curiosity and I was eager, as part of a golf trip down under, to discover the club and see for myself. My short answer is : it fully deserves it.
I did not find it so difficult to get on the course, provided you are willing to pay the price. Tara Iti is a members club, as opposed to Cape Kidnappers or Kauri Cliffs, but they have a “once in a life time” offer. All you need is a letter of introduction from your home club. They also request that you stay in one of the member’s cottages, which is in itself part of the experience (no sea view regretfully, but the highest standard in terms of luxury). This has 2 side consequences : it raises price of the experience (significantly), and it also reduces the available slots for you to play. The number of cabins is limited for now (some more are under construction), and they will not let you play if one is not available for you to stay in.
While I have my reservations on Tom Doak’s work at Cape Kidnappers, I was deeply impressed by what he and his Renaissance team achieved at Tara Iti. On what was originally a forest on sandy soil, they designed a truly magnificent course with sea views from virtually every hole (worth mentioning that the course was designed before the trees where actually removed, in itself quite a feat). No bunkers, sand is just considered sand and hence not raked. One commentator below found the views repetitive, I did not. The lay out is quite varied, challenging, fun to play and thouroughly interesting.
A tremendous experience !
I hear two more courses (public, this time) are contemplated on the site, one of which to be designed by Coore & Crenshaw.
Date: April 03, 2018