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The top 6 golf courses in New Zealand

Golf is more than just a sport in New Zealand. Golf courses are a common sight across the nation, from cities to rural towns. Our country is home to more than 390 golf courses, delivering a prosperous assortment of landscapes and experiences for local enthusiasts and visiting golfers.

New Zealand’s diverse landscapes and raw beauty make it a perfect location for some of the world’s most renowned golf courses. If you’re a golf enthusiast, these top courses and two upcoming courses should be added to your checklist! Each course offers a combination of challenge, scenery, and state-of-the-art amenities that will make your golfing adventure extraordinary.

Te Ara Iti golf club

Tara Iti is a private and exclusive golf club situated in Mangawhai, Auckland. It is currently the number one course in NZ and ranked 29th in the world. This Tom Doak-designed links course is known for its views of the Pacific Ocean, groomed fairways, and untouched sand dunes. Playing at Tara Iti is a privilege, by invitation only, but for those who get the chance, it’s an incredible experience.

Te Arai (North) golf course

Te Arai’s North course is another course designed by Tom Doak, located near Tara Iti. This links-style course is a favourite in the golfing community, known for its challenging layout and coastal views. The fairways are extensive, but the wind can be a formidable opponent. This course makes for an exciting round for golfers at any skill level.

Te Arai (South) golf course

The South course at Te Arai complements the North course well. Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, offering a unique experience with its strategic design, rolling dunes, and ocean panoramas. Te Arai has quickly become one of New Zealand’s most sought-after golf destinations, with both courses offering exceptional occasions.

Cape Kidnappers golf course

Cape Kidnappers, located in Hawke’s Bay, ranks 83rd in the world. This incredible course is famous for its cliff-top setting, with holes that run close to the Pacific Ocean. The views are unforgettable, and the course’s layout challenges players with its complex terrain. It’s a remarkable course for any golfer looking for a stimulating and scenic experience.

Jack’s Point golf course

Jack’s Point is located in Queenstown, between Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range. Ranked 25th in Oceania, this course presents one of the world’s most sensational views. The layout includes rocky outcrops, tussock grass, and fairways that complement the natural landscape. The design and dazzling scenery make Jack’s Point a must-visit course in NZ.

Kinloch golf club

Kinloch Golf Club offers a world-class experience in NZ’s North Island. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it is ranked 27th among the world’s most celebrated courses. It combines rugged terrain, bunkers, and greens, delivering a challenging test for golfers of all skill levels. Located near Lake Taupo, Kinloch delivers gorgeous views of the lake, adding to its appeal. The course is ranked among the top in New Zealand, drawing in golfers from all over the globe.

What’s coming?

Glendhu golf course

The Glendhu Golf Course in Wānaka, NZ, promises an 18-hole championship-standard course with iconic views of Lake Wānaka and surrounding mountain ranges. The course is set to be about 100 hectares and is designed to reinforce the natural terrain. Aiming for a 2025 opening, the course will include a clubhouse and premium accommodation and will be prepared for 42 residences. Over 150,000 native plants have been added to encourage sustainable development. With its impressive setting and sustainable practices, Glendhu Golf Course is set to become a premium golfing destination.

Muriwai’s new golf course and luxury resort

Muriwai is a small beach town located on Auckland’s west coast, with plans for a new golf course and luxury resort. This endeavour is set to deliver an 18-hole championship course and will open sometime in 2027. The course will combine natural features such as waterfalls, streams, and forest scenery, providing a distinctive playing experience. The course will include state-of-the-art amenities, including a sports academy, luxury accommodation, and a clubhouse. Muriwai is set to become a famous golfer’s paradise in the coming years.

New Zealand is home to some of the most sought-after golf courses and experiences worldwide. These courses are a must-visit for your next golf trip and should be celebrated amongst the community. Each course offers a combination of challenges, beautiful, unique scenery, and varying locations, each catering to suit the visitor’s skills. We invite you to experience our golfing paradise here in New Zealand and promise a remarkable time.

Veronika Vermeulen

Veronika Vermeulen is Director of Aroha New Zealand Tours Ltd. Aroha New Zealand Tours Ltd. has been offering 100% tailored journeys and private guided luxury experiences in New Zealand since 2000.

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  1. When I travel, I always like to take a day off, slow down and play a round of golf as it’s a good way of clearing jet-lag. There’s plenty of choice here of some great courses.

  2. As I’m from the UK, if I’m going to play a Kiwi course I want it to be a good one. This is probably going to be one of those once in a lifetime opportunities.

  3. Playing golf whilst you travel is always a good way of getting to know the landscape when you’re travelling. Slowing down for 4 hours and taking in the local countryside gives you a real feel for a place.

    Then having a drink with the local members in 19th hole puts you in touch with what’s happening.

  4. Can’t be easy choosing the best 6 courses when there’s over 390? Then again, that’s what A Luxury Travel Blog’s here for – to sort out the most luxurious life for us readers.

    1. Hi Jim,
      The players also make some decisions, classifying each golf course. But there is definitely a great selection of choices in New Zealand. There is a golf course for every style and pocket.

  5. A friend at my golf club’s played the Cape Kidnapper’s 18. He said it was a real “beauty and the beast” course. Frustratingly tough at times and rewarding with beautiful views at other times.

    1. Hi Michael, Yes, it can be challenging. Another Signature Golf Course is Kinloch, designed by Jack Nicklaus, who is known to create complex grounds. But if this one is too hard, play next door at Wairakei Golf Course; you are never far away from other great golf courses.

  6. I can’t see my husband let me escape more than once or twice to play golf whilst we’re on holiday. How do I choose between these great courses?

  7. As I’ve only been playing golf for a few months, these courses look far too demanding for my game at the moment.

    An interesting read as it gives me something to aim at when I’ve got more golfing experience.

  8. Hi Paul,
    You can always come over and play on local grounds with a great vibe and charm! Marquee places are fantastic, but our local places can be as extraordinary and are cheaper.

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