Personal Finance

10 unique golf courses to die for!

Ranganath Thota | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on July 10, 2016

First in the series, Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand has enthralled golfers with its sea-side view



You need to sometimes go to the end of the world to find your pot of gold. It’s no different when it comes to golf and playing spectacular golf courses!

Picking 10 unique golf courses (outside of the US) that should be on any golfers “Bucket list”, took us to the far corners of the Earth. From Iceland to Australia and from China to South Africa. We discovered some exotic locales in New Zealand and then headed back to the British Isles.

The list includes some revered courses that have stood the test of time and includes many a modern creation.

You would have heard of some of them, but most of them are relatively unknown.

The constant is that most of them have jaw-dropping settings that will distract you the first time around and then draw you back for a second or third visit. They are located in wildlife sanctuaries, alongside oceans and seas, next to massive mountains, alongside lonely highways and, yes, the odd one is located in a quaint town. The common thread is that most of them are located at the proverbial end of the world and you need to make that extra effort to get there.

Yes, it is worth it! You will be rewarded with a quickening pulse, a shiver down your spine and a lifetime of golfing memories. Read on and discover what every golfer needs to know. First in our series is Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand that offers breathtaking views of the sea.

Sea-side setting

Spoken about in hushed tones ever since it opened in 2000, the spectacular Kauri Cliffs golf course has enthralled golfers with its sea-side setting. Located in the north of Auckland in New Zealand along the eastern coastline, this course was the vision of New York-based Julian Robertson a billionaire and former hedge fund owner.

Julian Robertson happened to chance upon this 6,000-acre property in the 1970s when he came over to New Zealand for a holiday and decided he would buy up the land and visualised a world-class golf course.

This area had breathtaking cliff top views of the sea, a rugged coastline and the right semi-tropical climate as it was in the North of New Zealand.

Spectacular backdrop

He brought onboard David Harman from Florida to design the course. The end result is a course that is both spectacular and fearsome. Its 15 holes have views of the Pacific Ocean, of which six are played alongside cliffs that plunge into the sea.

This course is one of those memorable experiences as it has awesome views as well as fabulous design. It has been host to international golf events and is one of the very expensive but must-play destinations for golfers, worldwide.

Kauri Cliffs also underwent a renovation from world-renowned golf course architect Rees Jones. The course has both the Cavalli Islands and Cape Brett to provide a spectacular backdrop.

Lost to the sea

A word of caution when you play this golf course — make sure you carry enough golf balls, as most golfers tend to lose a lot of them on this course and then blame it on the views!

September is the best value for money month to play a round here — good weather and only a $260 green fee price versus the usual $410! Green fee is a charge for playing one round or session on a golf course.

Set in a 6,000-acre farmland, the facility also has “The Lodge” — a luxurious and exclusive facility that includes 22 suites and two cottages. The suites come with their own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and an open fireplace, and are located at the edge of a forest with golf and ocean views.

With two tennis courts, two swimming pools, a fitness centre and a luxury spa, you would find it a challenge to leave Kauri Cliffs once you get there. It’s a perfect getaway with your family (as they have enough to do too) or with your golfing friends.

When to visit: October to April is the best season, May to Sept is the “value” season.

How to get here: Auckland is the closest international airport. The closest town is Kerikeri. Fly from Auckland to Kerikeri airport — it’s a 40 min flight.

The course is about 25 minutes from Kerikeri airport. By car from Auckland, it’s a 4 hour scenic drive with plenty of golf courses along the way.

How to go about it: Fly from India via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong. It would be best to go in September when the green fees are low and the weather is just about ideal.

Plan a golf holiday around the North Island of New Zealand. If you have a week, then make Auckland your base (they have about four very high quality courses in and around Auckland) and play a round or two at Kauri Cliffs.

If you have two weeks to spare, you can play around eight golf courses and set apart some time for sight-seeing. The best way would be to travel around by car once you get there.

So rent a vehicle that can carry not just you and your fellow golfers but also your luggage and golf sets. If you go as a group of eight golfers, you can hire two vehicles and drive around the North Island.

Costs and financials: A six night/seven day holiday in September with stay at top four or five-star hotels, including five rounds of golf, will cost between ₹1 lakh to ₹1.5 lakh per person on a twin-share basis, including car rental for a group of four golfers.

Travelling during peak season will cost about 20 per cent more.

The writer is a passionate golfer and founder of Golfgaga.com

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