The Takeaway: Tara Iti has quickly emerged as the premier private club in the Southern Hemisphere. Tom Doak’s signature design features little weakness to identify and plenty of fun to unfold. The driveable par fours highlight the course and the ocean views throughout the round never grow tired. Between Tara Iti and Cape Kidnappers, Doak has introduced the best golf architecture New Zealand has ever seen. Grade A+
Designer: Tom Doak in 2015
Cost: Private $690 NZD + $200 NZD for a caddie Click for membership information
Phone Number: +64 9 431 4600
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Tara Iti Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 71 Tara Iti Drive, Mangawhai 0975 – NEW ZEALAND
Accolades: Ranked 2nd in New Zealand by Golf Course Gurus
What to Expect: Few courses have ever hit the world golfing scene with more pop than Tara Iti when it debuted as the 6th best course in the world outside the United States on Golf Digest’s World Rankings list. Located an hour and a half north of Auckland on a stretch of beach that was exposed after a massive clearing of trees and non-native plants, the property for Tara Iti was a blank canvas for Tom Doak to work with which created a scenario that could only be limited by his imagination. The beautiful setting, which now features some native planting, rests alongside the ocean but is located 200 meters inland due to development restrictions. There isn’t a single weak hole on the property with each one being compelling for different reasons, but the marque feature of the design centers around the three driveable par fours; 4, 7, and 13, which give players an opportunity to employ a variety of strategies. While those holes are played with great anticipation, the lengthy and controversial par four 12th if often played with a significant dose of dread with its blind tee shot and a green that is tilts harder to the left than Bernie Sanders. I’m not sure I would identify a signature stretch of holes at Tara Iti that really jumps at you. That is great from the aspect that the holes are consistently so good from start to finish, but it also lacks the type of climax that you get from so many of the best coastal courses in the world; 15-17 at Cypress Point, 6-8 at Pebble Beach, 15-18 at Cabot Cliffs, and 9-12 at Turnberry come to mind. Doak being Doak, you aren’t going to find the conventional par 72 at Tara Iti with the front nine playing a 36 with just one par three and one par five while the back plays to a par of 35 with a trio of one-shotters. When you arrive at the golf course you will be introduced to your caddie who will carry your bag for the day as carts aren't allowed during your experience on the links. If you don't have an invitation from a member, Tara Iti allows players a "once in a lifetime" visit that will allow you to play the course. When you schedule that visit, you'll be required to book at least one night in the onsite accommodations which are extremely nice, but come with a steep price tag so you'll want to prepare for that. Two more courses are planned for Tara Iti, both public access, which will make the area all the more attractive for visitors to put on their bucket list. When all is said and done, Tara Iti is one of the finest golf experiences on Mother Earth. That being said, Cape Kidnappers actually offers more engaging, dramatic, and varied terrain to tee it up on so don't let Tara Iti's private status keep you from coming to Kiwi country.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 6th Hole – 461 Yard Par 4 –
Best Par 3: 17th Hole – 160 Yards –
Best Par 4: 3rd Hole – 446 Yards –
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 547 Yards –
Birdie Time: 13th Hole – 317 Yard Par 4 –
Bogey Beware: 12th Hole – 480 Yard Par 4 –