Golfing heaven

Did you know New Zealand has the highest number of golf courses per capita in the world? And the range of courses is as diverse as the country’s landscape – from top-of-the-line properties like Kauri Cliffs in Northland, to small rural clubs where sheep keep the fairways trim.

And it’s difficult to play a round without a view. There are courses located between snowy mountain ranges, and beside stunning lakes; others offer cliff-top ocean views, or the steamy atmosphere of an active geothermal area.

No matter where you are in New Zealand, we can find you a suitable golf course and organise a round, along with clubs and a golfing buddy. And, if you’re also keen on rugby, we even have All Black legends on hand who know a thing or two about playing golf.

For a golfer’s dream itinerary, here’s our top five golf resorts if you want to stay and play.

Kauri Cliffs, Northland

Famous for its rolling hills, seaside cliffs, and sweeping island views, Kauri Cliffs is considered one of the most scenic golf courses in the world. The par 72 championship course offers five sets of tees to challenge every skill level, with six holes that are played alongside cliffs that plunge to the sea.

And there’s a lot more to Kauri Cliffs than a spectacular golf course. The luxury resort is set on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay in Northland. The main lodge has 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, and the facilities include two tennis courts, an infinity swimming pool, an exclusive beauty spa, and a fully equipped fitness centre. Kauri Cliffs also has three secluded swimming beaches, which are ideal for picnics and barbecues.

There are 22 guest suites, and a two-bedroom owner’s cottage, each with its own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom.

The Lakes Resort, Pauanui

The Lakes Resort course is nestled in a unique valley setting and meanders its way through picturesque native wetlands and lakes. Nearby is one of New Zealand’s most popular beach resorts.

The tees, greens and fairways are amongst the best in New Zealand, and the resort has hosted a number of international championships. Accommodation comes in the form of luxury self-contained villas that blend into the surrounding wetlands.

Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay

Like Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers plays above the ocean, atop dramatic cliffs. It is a challenging course and players need to hit their balls long and straight to stay away from the 120-metre drop to the sea at the edge of the fairways.

Many consider it to be New Zealand’s best golf course and its American designer Tom Doak, has said that, “If Cape Kidnappers were a book it would be an epic. Enjoy your game and enjoy the setting [because] you may never play golf somewhere like this again.”

The cluster of luxury lodge buildings at Cape Kidnappers are in the style of a working farm – a marriage of river stone and weathered wood. The main lodge features a lounge with roaring open fires, dining spaces, including 'outdoor rooms', and a lot of contemporary art.

Clearwater Resort, Christchurch

The Clearwater golf course is built around a series of man-made lakes, bringing water into play on 14 holes. Golden tussock contrasts nicely with the neatly manicured bent grass fairways and greens, making the it look like a cross between an Old World links and an American parkland course.

The resort offers a selection of elegant and modern lakeside apartments. All the accommodation is built in a contemporary boathouse style, with the two-bedroom terrace apartments also boasting an open fireplace. Clearwater also has its own resident fly fishing guide, who knows where the big rainbow trout can be found.

Millbrook, Queenstown

The Millbrook golf course is a beautiful alpine course with the jagged Remarkables mountain range as a backdrop. The course design makes the most of its location with a number of elevated tees that highlight the spectacular mountain scenery.

Set on 500 acres, the 175 room boutique onsite hotel offers studio rooms, one-bedroom suites, two-bedroom villas, two, three and four-bedroom fully equipped cottages, and exclusive four and five-bedroom Fairway Homes. Fireplaces, and outdoor dining and entertaining areas feature prominently.

The resort also has a world-class spa that offers full body treatments, hydrotherapy, facials, and foot massage - always a favourite with golfers.

While in Queenstown, keen golfers should also try the relatively new Jack’s Point course. It’s another beautifully situated course, sandwiched between the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.