​Top 50 Golf Courses of New Zealand 2017

16 March 2017 Respond to this article

Top 50 Golf Courses of New Zealand 2017

The big news is that we have a brand new entry at the top of the Kiwi table

Much has happened within the New Zealand golfing landscape since we released our last Top 50 two years ago. Once again we’ve done our research, a lot of research, in fact. In 2015 there were no new entries, but things have changed quite significantly with five new entries, two of which jump straight into the Top 10.

Tara Iti Golf Club

The big news is that we have a new Kiwi number one. Tom Doak’s creation at Tara Iti has proven to be far more popular with raters than his other high profile New Zealand design at Cape Kidnappers. Doak and his crew transformed a heavily forested coastal site alongside Bream Bay (1½ hours north of Auckland) into a stunning and cerebral layout, with fairways weaving their way between sprawling sandy waste areas. Tara Iti will no doubt find its way into our next World Top 100. The question is how high will it debut?

Wainui Golf ClubThere are four other new entries into the Top 50, two of which are brand new courses, and one bursts straight into the Top 10. Wainui Golf Club is the phoenix that rose from the ashes of the old Peninsula Golf Club, with Grant Puddicombe overseeing the design of a new course built on rolling farmland a few kilometres inland from their old Red Beach facility. Wainui is a stern test, and the back nine in particular has some cracking holes, with the short par four 15th a particular favourite of those who have already visited. Wainui enters our new chart at number 9.

The other new entry at #23 features another club that has relocated inland and built a new course. Manukau Golf Club has now become Windross Farm Golf Club, and the new links-like course, designed by Brett Thomson and Phil Tataurangi, has already secured an LPGA Tour event for later this year.

Waverley Golf Club - photo by Leo Barber

We’re making no apologies for letting the cat out of the bag with our fourth new entry, the ultimate hidden gem at Waverley. Try Googling it, and you’ll struggle to find anything except confirmation that it exists. Tom Doak’s team discovered it whilst working on Tara Iti, and reputedly fell in love with its honesty and quirkiness. So we’re providing Waverley Golf Club with some much-deserved attention and a debut ranking of #31.

With so many highly placed new entries, very few courses actually improved their ranking – only five, in fact. The highest climber is Harewood, in Christchurch, where Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson’s relatively recent renovation is continuing to grow in popularity. The only other courses to improve their rankings by more than one place was the quirky natural little gem at Arrowtown, which almost cracked our Top 10, and the rugged links way up north at Kaitaia.

We have also extended our regional rankings to include a Top 40 for the North Island, and a Top 20 for the less densely populated South Island, which means that we feature and rank ten new courses overall, as well as Pukekohe near Auckland, which has been elevated to a ranked course from a ‘Gem’. Joining the five new entries from the national Top 50, we now include North Shore (Red), Ohope International, Dunes at Matarangi, Whitford Park, and Te Anau in our regional rankings.

Our unique New Zealand ranking list involved gathering, analysing and processing data from more sources than ever before. So we’re quietly confident that this is the best ranking list we’ve ever produced.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Tara Iti New entry
2 Cape Kidnappers Down 1
3 Paraparaumu Beach No change
4 Kinloch No change
5 Kauri Cliffs Down 3
6 Jack's Point Down 1
7 The Hills Down 1
8 Titirangi Down 1
9 Wainui New entry
10 Royal Wellington No change
11 Arrowtown Up 3
12 Wairakei Down 4
13 Millbrook Down 4
14 Southland Down 2
15 Royal Auckland Down 2
16 Gulf Harbour Down 5
17 Christchurch No change
18 Terrace Downs Down 2
19 Clearwater Down 4
20 Carrington Down 1
21 New Plymouth Down 3
22 Muriwai Down 2
23 Windross Farm New entry
24 Pegasus Down 3
25 Manawatu Down 2
26 Otago Down 4
27 Hastings Down 2
28 Harewood Up 7
29 Wanganui Down 2
30 Chisholm Links Down 4
31 Waverley New entry
32 Hamilton Down 8
33 Poverty Bay Down 5
34 Cromwell Down 2
35 Waipu Up 1
36 Kaitaia Up 3
37 Mount Maunganui Down 6
38 Russley Down 4
39 Mangawhai Down 6
40 Queenstown Down 11
41 Invercargill Down 4
42 Lakes Down 12
43 Formosa No change
44 Taupo (Centennial) Down 4
45 Rotorua (Arikikapakapa) Down 7
46 Nelson Up 1
47 St Clair Down 6
48 Whakatane New entry
49 The Grange Down 4
50 Napier Down 6

To view further details of our latest New Zealand Top 50 rankings, click the link.

To explore our new North Island and South Island rankings in detail, click the respective link.

We genuinely welcome feedback; in fact we actively encourage it. So please let us know what you think about our latest list of New Zealand’s Top Golf Courses. We won’t ever claim to be “definitive” but we aim to be the most “informed” golf course rankings in the business.

If you’ve played any of our featured Kiwi courses, we’d be delighted to know what you think so why not contribute and post a course review or two?

Matt Richardson
New Zealand Correspondent