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We like to be picky about the courses we play on golf trips. Although we enjoy mixing quirky country courses, there is no better feeling than hitting the ball off manicured fairways on international golf courses.
Taupō is unique as a golf destination; The Kinloch Club Golf Course and Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary are so different in layout, design and gameplay - now we have added the brand new Tieke Golf Estate, en-route, another completely different challenge.
Today, we’re departing from Auckland, but you can replicate this roady from any North Island hub.
Traffic is slow, but Taupō is South, so we are working against the grain. Hiring a vehicle makes life easier, and chipping in makes it cost-effective, especially a car that fits the lads and their bags.
We prefer to play this course en route, either on the first or last day of the trip. Thankfully, Hamilton produced their first entry to a world-class golf course - Tieke Golf Club. Set on re-developed land at Lochiel Golf Estate, its fairways meander through quarry-like natural bunkers.
The fairways are narrow with distance management as the secret to your success. We use every club in the bag to reach the greens - immaculate in condition, playing at generous speed and contour, so you aren't leaving too many shots out on the course.
Tieke is thoroughly enjoyable; it caters to all golfer's abilities and gives you a perfect confidence boost before our next golf outing - and you’ll need it at The Kinloch Club Golf Course.
Tieke has a new clubhouse and restaurant, so we recommend enjoying lunch before driving to Taupō.
Check into your accommodation.
The second course is rated number 3 in New Zealand by Golf Digest - The Kinloch Club.
You were comforted by your newfound golf poise at Tieke. But you quickly tumble back to earth as reality bites on the first tee at Kinloch - it doesn’t get easier from there. Long drives are preferred, accuracy is paramount, and an ability to scramble is the icing on the cake.
Kinloch is one of the most enjoyable courses in New Zealand, with a Jack Nicklaus signature design and rare lakeside links.
Kinloch has the brain working overtime; golfers love the different landing pads for their approach shot to position themselves. Each hole is vastly different from the next, and you find yourself saying ‘I love this hole’ when you step up to each tee box.
After your round, we recommend enjoying a Local Lakeman Pilsner and Cheeseburger at the relaxed clubhouse.
Kinloch is a long, challenging round, so we suggest a relaxing/therapeutic activity after golf, like soaking at the Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa or a scenic cruise on Lake Taupō.
Enjoy your evening at one of Taupō’s finest eating establishments (a reminder to book your table in advance for your group).
The final round is a New Zealand golfer's favourite; Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary. Wairakei doesn’t penalise you like Kinloch but still requires accurate gameplay. It's so good for the soul, encompassed by nature, wildlife and birdsong - it is the perfect golf course to help decompress before travelling home.
The golf is second to none, always very green and in immaculate condition. A traditional layout with unique Kiwi touches; the bunkers are lined with native New Zealand Punga, and water is used significantly as natural streams dissect holes creating thoughtful hazards.
For some, Wairakei may signal the end of the trip, but Taupō has plenty for golfers looking to spend 3, 4 nights or even a week.
My favourite seasons to golf are spring (Sept-Nov), with a mild climate and decorated with florals - or in Autumn; (April-June) you will enjoy the autumnal colours. The mornings may be crisp, but the fairways are greener.
We recommend using a golf travel agency, like Experience Golf, to plan your Taupō Golf Package from start to finish, so you can relax and focus on your game. They will design your perfect Taupō road trip, tailor the package to your needs and give it to you for the same price or less as if you were to plan it yourself.
Taupō is New Zealand’s perfect golf trip - So click, buy, drive and swing today!
Planning on traveling to the most beautiful country in the world? Here’s our guide to the hidden gem golf courses in Taupō you shouldn’t miss.