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Tee Up for Paradise: A Guide to Golfing in New Zealand

New Zealand, renowned for its stunning scenery, adventure activities, and laid-back culture, also boasts a thriving golfing scene. Whether you're a seasoned golfer or a curious newcomer, the country offers a unique and unforgettable golfing experience.

golf in New Zealand
Heli-golf in Queenstown

Popularity and Participation: Kiwis Love a Good Tee Off

Golf is surprisingly popular in New Zealand. According to Golf New Zealand, the national governing body, nearly 250,000 adults hit the links each year. This translates to golf being the highest participation sport for men and the second-highest for women (just behind netball). With 396 courses scattered throughout the country, there's a green waiting to be conquered by golfers of all skill levels and ages. Many courses offer junior programs to introduce younger players to the game.

golf in New Zealand
Junior program at Auckland golf club

Beyond the Greens: Unique Golfing Experiences in NZ

New Zealand offers more than just traditional golf courses. Here are some exciting options to add a touch of adventure to your game:

  • Heli-Golf: Imagine teeing off from a helicopter onto a breathtaking mountaintop course. Heli-golfing experiences are available in several locations, including near Queenstown and Wanaka.

  • Million Dollar Hole in One: At the Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs, one lucky golfer can win a whopping NZ$10,000 by sinking a hole-in-one on a floating platform in the middle of the lake.

  • Luxury Lodges with Golf Courses: Combine a luxurious stay with world-class golf at lodges like The Kinloch Club (Taupo), Kauri Cliffs (Northland), and Cape Kidnappers (Hawke's Bay). These lodges offer stunning views, exceptional accommodation, and championship-level courses.

golf in new zealand
Hole in One Taupo

International Competitions: Witnessing the Pros in Action

New Zealand regularly hosts prestigious international golf competitions, attracting top players from around the globe. Here are some notable events:

  • New Zealand Open (Men's and Women's): Held annually, this event alternates between North and South Island courses, showcasing the best of Kiwi golf.

  • ISPS Handa NZ PGA Championship: This men's professional tournament features international stars competing for a coveted title.

While the exact dates of these championships can vary slightly year to year, these two prestigious tournaments are typically scheduled close together in February-March. This allows golf fans to enjoy a thrilling two-week stretch of top-level competition in New Zealand.

golf in new zealand
New Zealand Open

A Golfer's Paradise: Where to Play on the North and South Islands?

Both North and South Islands offer a diverse range of golf courses, catering to different preferences. Here's a glimpse:

North Island:

  • Auckland: Home to several championship courses like Titirangi and Remuera, Auckland is a great starting point.

  • Bay of Islands: Picturesque courses like Kauri Cliffs and Waitangi Golf Club boast stunning coastal views.

  • Rotorua: Combine geothermal wonders with a round of golf at the Rotorua Golf Club or Tarawera Golf Club.

South Island:

  • Queenstown: Play amidst breathtaking mountain scenery at courses like The Hills and Millbrook Resort.

  • Canterbury: Christchurch offers several top courses like Christchurch Golf Club and Clearwater Golf Club.

  • Nelson Tasman: Enjoy a relaxed golfing experience with stunning views at courses like The Nelson Golf Club and The Motueka Golf Club.

golf in new zealand
Kauri Cliffs golf course

When to Hit the Fairway: Choosing the Best Season

New Zealand enjoys a temperate climate with mild winters and warm summers. However, the best season for golf depends on your preference:

  • Summer (December-February): Expect warm weather with longer daylight hours, perfect for those who enjoy playing into the evening. However, this is also the peak season for tourism, so courses might be busier.

  • Autumn (March-May): Cooler temperatures and fewer crowds create a pleasant golfing experience. Fall foliage in some regions can add a touch of beauty to your game.

  • Spring (September-November): Enjoy pleasant weather with blooming flowers, making for a picturesque golfing backdrop.

  • Winter (June-August): While some courses may have limited hours or be closed altogether, the upside is the chance to play without crowds.

golf in new zealand
Golf course in autumn

Membership or Green Fees? Accessing the Courses

Not all courses in New Zealand require membership. Many offer pay-and-play options, allowing you to enjoy a round for a green fee. However, becoming a member at a local club provides benefits like discounted green fees, access to practice facilities, and social events.

Green fees in New Zealand vary depending on the course, location, and season. Generally, expect to pay between NZ$50-NZ$200 for a round. Annual memberships at private clubs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the prestige of the club.

golf in new zealand
Millbrook golf course

Experience Golfing Nirvana in New Zealand

New Zealand's stunning scenery, diverse courses, and welcoming golfing culture create an unforgettable golfing experience. Whether you're a seasoned player seeking a challenge or a curious beginner wanting to try something new, New Zealand has something to offer.


Ready to tee off on your dream golf vacation? JustGoThere can help you arrange every detail, from finding the perfect course and accommodation to planning your itinerary and activities. With our expertise and insider knowledge, you can be sure your New Zealand golfing adventure will be one for the books.

Contact JustGoThere today and start planning your golfing getaway in paradise!

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