Terrace Downs - South Island - New Zealand

Terrace Downs Resort,
Coleridge Road,
Rakaia Gorge,
Darfield,
Canterbury RD2,
New Zealand


  • +64 (0) 3 318 6943

  • Not known

  • David Cox and Puddicombe Golf Design

  • Not known

Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers are the best coastal courses in New Zealand and Terrace Downs is one of the country’s best mountain courses. The 550 acres of the Terrace Downs Resort are set in the foothills of the Southern Alps, on the edge of the Rakaia River Gorge, a 50-minute drive from Christchurch International Airport.

Terrace Downs opened in 1999 and the course was designed by David Cox and the Canadian architect Sid Puddicombe, who created the Lakes Resort course and has been involved in the redevelopment of several others, such as North Shore, Clarks Beach, Onewhero and Pukekohe.

The 18-hole, par 72, championship course can be stretched to just over 7,000 yards from the back tees and holes are configured in two loops of nine over property that includes eleven lakes and seventy bunkers.

The best hole on the front nine is the par five 7th which is the longest hole on the course, playing to 605 yards. It doglegs left down to a lower terrace with a lake on the right, after the bend in the fairway. A fairway bunker on the left catches over-cautious players trying to avoid the water and the wide, but shallow green is a tough target to hit and hold with an approach shot.

The most exciting hole on the inward half (indeed on the whole course) is the 143-yard, par three 16th with a tee box that clings to the edge of the gorge and towers over 500 feet above the Rakaia River below – it’s simply one of the most stunning holes in the country!

The tee shot must, first of all, carry a couple of ravines that fall all the way to the river through thick native bush then second, avoid a deep pot bunker in front of the putting surface before any thoughts of a par can be entertained.
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Description: The 550 acres of the Terrace Downs Resort are set in the foothills of the Southern Alps, an hour’s drive from Christchurch, on the edge of the Canterbury Plains. Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 3
TaylorMade
Peter Wood

Located in the Canterbury Plains, an hour west of Christchurch, Terrace Downs Resort opened 18 holes for play in 1999. Previously the property was used as a sheep and cattle farm, but was purchased in 1990 by Japanese professional golfer Shinnosuke Saito.

Saito engaged Canadian firm Puddicombe Golf Design to design and build a golf course on the gently undulating terrain bordering the Rakaia River Gorge with Mt. Hutt in the background. David Terrace Downs Golf Course - Photo by reviewer Cox assisted with the back nine.

It really is a magnificent setting, and a nice place to stay a few days with quality accommodation and dining on offer, all with a view!

The golf course is pretty good too, and not just because of the backdrop. It is a testing layout for all levels of golfer. There are a number of memorable holes, and most of the back nine is pretty dramatic in one way or the other. But the signature hole is definitely the short par 3 sixteenth hole along the gorge.

Terrace Downs High Country Resort is a fabulous place to stay. The accommodation is classy and the meals are top notch. With spa facilities on site, waterfalls to see, gorge walks, and golf, it is a lovely place to stay. And the golf course will certainly have you wanting to return

Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.

February 10, 2019
4 / 6
Terrace Downs
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Dan Hare
I really enjoyed Terrace Downs when I played it a few years ago, the course is certainly better than the Players Club. The 16th is indeed an exciting and picturesque hole, and the views are lovely.
February 06, 2013
4 / 6
Terrace Downs
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Matt Richardson
February 07, 2013
Don't get me wrong, the Player's Club comparison was not an insult, the PC is an extremely fun golf course, or it was ten years ago when I played it anyway. It's just that neither hold a candle to many of the better courses featured on this website. Which is also not an insult.
Matt Richardson
Terrace Downs is pretty much the archetypal resort course, with its generous margins for error (i.e. lots of fairly impotent semi rough, little in the way of serious cabbage), water on 11 of 18 holes, and high-end holiday accommodation lining some of the fairways. It’s got some very average holes, it’s also got some strong holes, with the architect seeming to favour the strategic school of thinking. An immediate case in point is the 1st tee shot. I get a little tired of the ‘gentle opener’ for a first hole that you find at so many courses, but at the same time, a devilishly penal opening drive always seems a little sadistic. Terrace’s opening par 5 gives you the option of the easy bail out (no chance of getting on in two), or the corner cutting option over the lake for those of a more daring disposition, which if executed well will leave only a long iron. There’s quite a few of these do or die temptations around the place, including all of the last 4 holes in one way or another. The signature hole is the 110m par 3 16th, perched hundreds of feet above the turquoise blue waters of the Rakaia Gorge, with the snow-capped Mount Hutt / Southern Alps overlooking the scene. Notice how I concentrate on the scenery, and say little about the golf hole – that’s for a reason. Anyway, it’s an enjoyable round, nothing too taxing for a top course, not much to add really. It’s a resort course. It’s very similar in terms of quality and setting to Millbrook – I would probably give the nod to Terrace at the moment, but Millbrook will be better once the new nine holes opens. If you want a comparison to a UK course in terms of style and quality, imagine taking Collingtree Park or The Players’ Club, ripping it from its motorway-edged farmland setting, and plonking it in one of the more beautiful corners of the South Island, then you’ve got Terrace Downs. Matt Richardson
September 22, 2009
4 / 6
Terrace Downs
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