Deciding on rankings is contentious, like wine or food - to each his own, for what its worth these are the 10 New Zealand courses we rate as the most fun...
1. Tara Iti - Needs to introduction, this Doak classic was not built to be a championship links, it was built as a member’s club. Thus, wide fairways which help to get everybody in play, its a hard place to lose a ball, which as a measure makes it more fun than most, including several on this list which are ball black-holes! The sloping greens and surrounds funnel shots towards the hole as often as they deflect, another reason this layout is endlessly fascinating.
2. Paraparumu - This classic Alec Russell design is a very underrated links, in our opinion if this course was in Scotland, it would be regarded as a classic on a global scale. The firm tight surfaces allow you to run the ball from all sorts of places, and the ever-present winds keeps the changing on a daily basis.
3. Kinloch - From the back tees this is our hardest test, the key here is to choose the right tees. Much like most Nicklaus courses the course is generous from the tee and gets progressively more difficult as you get closer to the hole. The par 3's are brutal from the back tees but very playable from the front.
4. Cape Kidnappers - This course made waves around the globe when images from above became available. While its a different beast from the ground its still one of the most spectacular settings in which to play golf we have ever seen.
5. Wairakei - After recent green renovations Wairakei has gone to the next level, we think its New Zealand quintessential golf destination. The property is an animal sanctuary, thanks to the stewardship of Gary Lane Kiwi re bred on the property in conjunction with The Department Of Conservation.
6. Kauri Cliffs - Our original international Resort facility, Kauri Cliffs is super fun, its views are incredible. Amazingly the best stretch of holes is inland, skirting the wetlands. The conditioning as always first rate, A monument to Jim Robinson - a central figure in New Zealand golf's modern history.
7. Jacks Point - Another visually stunning course, it’s hard not have a fun day here. The course features massive elevation changes, the 15th hole could be the most unique hole in the country.
8. Arrowtown - A one of a kind, this is rated by many a judge as the best bunkerless golf course in the world! Numerous rocks act as penalty areas, firing balls off in odd directions should you stray offline.
9. Titirangi - This Dr Alister McKenzie design is not super long by modern standards but its possibly the hardest course to get up & down on we have seen. Ball striking is at premium here, there is no option to hit your ball poorly off the tee and make a score.
10. Royal Auckland & Grange GC - A brand new course, this is golf on grand scale, the 27-hole layout is modern and features many options to use the terrain to your advantage. This will be a stunner in a few years one it matures.