Golf escapism: New Zealand North Island Golf Courses

If you need a reason to golf-daydream, let us help you out with some spectacular New Zealand North Island golf course subject matter. Thats a mouthful for sure, but these exquisite golf courses are a ‘mind-ful’; here at Moran Golf Tours, we think golfing New Zealand is one of the best ways one can spend their time. We love escaping to the South Island of New Zealand to play the likes Millbrook Golf Course, quaint Arrowtown Golf Course, spectacular Jack’s Point Golf Course and of course, the incredibly unique Queenstown Golf Course jutting out proudly into Lake Wakatipu.

And so, having experienced the incredible golf on offer in the South Island, we’d certainly be excited to venture to the North Island in 2021. Lets take a look at Cape Kidnappers, Kinloch and Wairakei golf courses. As these courses are close to each other, we could look to easily include them in a golf tour. We’d love to play Kauri Cliffs and Tara Iti too, which are located at the very northern end of the North Island, and could look to run a ‘north of North Island’ golf tour in coming years. But for now, lets focus on the mid and southern regions of the North Island.

If you have a NZ North Island golf course you’d like us to visit, please comment and let us know.

What’s intriguing about golf on The North Island?

The North Island of New Zealand mixes rugged volcanic landscapes with the laid back city life that New Zealanders are famous for. The North Island is home to more than half the nation’s population, and is where you can find its two main cities, Auckland and Wellington, the capital.

The North Island boasts 10 out of New Zealand’s 14 Marquee Courses and is renowned for its sweeping coastlines, rolling hills and tranquil beaches.

Tee off on the world famous cliff-top course Cape Kidnappers in the Hawke’s Bay, ranked among the top 50 courses in the world according to Golf Digest. Visit Taupo in the centre of the North Island to play Wairakei surrounded by native greenery, or try the nearby Jack Nicklaus designed Kinloch Club in the lakeside settlement of Kinloch.

Lets take a closer look at each.

The Kinloch Golf Club

#3, New Zealand’s Top 50 Golf Courses, Golf Digest Australia, November 2019

A must-play on any golfing itinerary for visitors to New Zealand, Kinloch is a world-class championship design from top golf course architect Jack Nicklaus (18 times Major winner).

A Top 100 golf course, the Kinloch Club is a Championship inland links style Jack Nicklaus signature design. Measuring 6519 yards, Kinloch offers an exceptional golfing experience.

Many describe Kinloch as “unlike any Nicklaus course you’ve ever seen”, and for good reason. The fescue-covered fairways have barely a flat spot on them, with the course playing firm and fast year-round.

A unique experience awaits you at Kinloch, providing a enjoyable challenge set amidst exceptional natural beauty. From its open corridors, rolling topography, discreet bunkering and 70-acre lake, and characterful greens, each round demands a degree of accuracy and skill. The course is designed to encourage walking, with most distances from  green to tee being short.

A 19th hole is a special feature as players head toward the clubhouse as means of settling ties, hitting one more shot or trying to get even. Tees, fairways, bunkers, and greens are prepared so as to offer a member or guest a golf course conditioned as well as any you will encounter.

Sir Bob Charles, NZ Professional Golfer, on playing Kinloch for the first time, stated “Having just played Kinloch for the first time I can honestly say this is the # 1 golf course in New Zealand. For those unable to play the great links courses of Scotland, Kinloch compares with the best of them. A true links experience with Jack Nicklaus at his best.”

Visit the Kinloch Golf Club here

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Cape Kidnappers Golf Course 

#5, New Zealand’s Top 50 Golf Courses, Golf Digest Australia, November 2019

The clifftop Cape Kidnappers offers golf drama hard to find elsewhere; this spectacular New Zealand golf course has been hailed as one of the great modern marvels in golf. Built on a ridge-and-valley landscape and with stunning sea views, Cape Kidnappers Golf Course plays high above the ocean atop dramatic cliffs.

The understated entranceway leads to a 10-kilometre driveway that gives glimpses of a course that has been included in Golf Digest’s World Top 100 since its debut in 2004. The journey along the driveway winds through sheep, cattle station and bushland and gives you an idea of the degree of seclusion of Cape Kidnappers. Cape Kidnappers features eighteen holes of golf designed by world renowned golf architect Tom Doak. This par 71 golf course measures 7,119 yards and will provide a good challenge for golfers of all skill levels.

The 15th hole at Cape Kidnappers, known as ‘the pirate’s plank’ is often considered one of the hardest in the world; the UK’s Telegraph described it as ‘Quite apart from its monstrous length, the… hole on New Zealand’s North Island features drops into oblivion on both sides of a narrow fairway and winds which make some of the gales that batter the British links courses look like gentle zephyrs.’

Find our more about Cape Kidnappers here.

Wairakei Golf Course

7#, New Zealand’s Top 50 Golf Courses, Golf Digest Australia, November 2019

Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary is a perennial favourite of all New Zealanders. Recent changes to the first hole, an expanded clubhouse and the addition of the endangered North Island Brown Kiwi complement the endangered Takahe that can be found roaming the fairways of this parkland gem. Super conditions and a 25-minute drive to Kinloch should ensure that everyone makes at least one visit to Taupo each year.

Wairakei Golf Course has been skillfully designed to blend with the surrounding native bush. Prolific birdsong, picturesque scenery and a unique pest-proof sanctuary (the first of its kind) has led to Wairakei being recognised as New Zealand’s number one golf course.

Wairakei lies on 180 hectares of natural rolling countryside, 6460 metres from championship tees with 108 large well placed bunkers and was developed to meet the rigorous design standards required for world-class championship competitions.

The predator-free sanctuary offers a safe haven to fallow deer and many birdlife including mixed colour pheasants, guinea fowl, ducks, native kiwi and takahe, which are all free to roam around the course.

Find our more about Wairakei golf course here.

Intersted in your own golf escapism on our next golf tour to New Zealand?

To find out more about our New Zealand Golf Tours, please visit our page here,