While a number of countries may lay claim to being "a golfer's paradise", none can match the variety, accessibility, and scenery of New Zealand's golf courses. Since the Otago Golf Club was founded in 1871, golf courses have been developed in all cities and most rural communities throughout the country.
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With a population of less than 4 million, New Zealand has a course for every 10,000 people. Except for the larger city clubs, it's possible to walk onto most golf courses and play without booking in advance. Green fees for overseas visitors vary from as little as NZ$5 for 9-hole rural courses to NZ$200 for the top resort courses with an average cost of about $30 a round. Golf carts and hire clubs are usually available at the larger clubs. With seasoned professional golfers such as Bob Charles, Frank Nobilo, Grant Waite, Greg Turner, Marnie McGuire, and "young guns" like Craig Perks, Michael Long, Michael Campbell, Phillip Tautarangi, and Steve Alker, to name but a few, New Zealand has an enviable reputation for producing golfing talent.
The reasons are abundantly clear - our courses and conditions test all facets of a golfer's ability. Play well here and you can hold your head up anywhere the game of golf is played. Good grass growth means lush rough - undulations are often hills - sand is freely available - and prevailing winds occasionally reach gale force.
But most of the time golf in New Zealand is delightful. The weather is warm and calm, the fairways smooth and flat, the greens soft and true, and above all else the views are magnificent.
Unlike many northern hemisphere countries, golf is played all year round in New Zealand with the major club competition season generally running from March to November to coincide with peak times of grass growth. While all clubs water their greens in summer many of the smaller clubs don't have fairway irrigation. Consequently,hard and dry conditions during hot summer months can see golfers hitting career best drives of over 300 yards! These courses are at their best during Spring and early Summer.
There are courses to suit players of all abilities. Many have hosted National and International competitions and provide a stern test for the best professionals - others are designed for club players with different tee positions to suit all skill levels.
A number of courses have their own driving ranges together with other practice facilities and there are stand-alone ranges in most main centres. Some of the smaller clubs rely on an "honesty box" system for collecting green fees. Most city courses have a professional and a golf shop with other staff to manage the clubhouse and general administration.
And, when you've left the fairways behind you, there are so many things to see and do you'll need to come back again and again to even begin to sample them. When you consider the variety of natural attractions available - snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and rivers, glaciers, verdant natural bush, tropical sands, volcanic eruptions, geothermal geysers and mudpools, and all the activities they involve - don't travel the world, they're all here in New Zealand. And above all else, we pride ourselves on being the friendliest people you could hope to find. Please come and see us.
Golf vacations are becoming one of the most popular sporting activities for visitors to New Zealand. And is it any wonder when you look at some of the world class golf courses that have recently been built and re-developed in the last few years. New Zealand golf tours have become more popular due to a combination of top golf course designs and New Zealand’s unique and spectacular scenery. It is no suprise why passionate golfers are coming to New Zealand specifically to experience the growing reputation the courses are establishing.
New Zealand has recently won a global award for "Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year".