Queenstown courses rated among best

The Queenstown region boasts three of the top golf courses in New Zealand in Jacks Point, The...
The Queenstown region boasts three of the top golf courses in New Zealand in Jacks Point, The Hills and Millbrook. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED/GETTY IMAGES/ODT FILES
Queenstown is to the fore following the naming of the top golf courses in the country.

The only worry is whether the courses will still be around when and if the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control.

The ranking of all golf courses in New Zealand has been released in conjunction with NZ Golf Magazine. It was due to take place later in the year but was brought forward as the lockdown enabled players plenty of time to consider their options.

Queenstown is clearly New Zealand’s best golf destination. All the 18-hole courses in Queenstown, Cromwell and the Wanaka region made it into the top 40.

Top of the rankings was the Tara Iti course in Te Arai, about halfway between Auckland and Whangarei. It was also No1 last year and is rated one of the best courses in the world.

Barack Obama and John Key played the course in 2018.

Coming in second is Jacks Point, near Queenstown, which moves up from seventh last year.

Tara Iti was a clear winner of the top course while it was hard to separate the rest of the top 10 courses.

Jacks Point has also moved up in US Golf Digest’s ranking of the world’s best courses to be inside the top 50. The course, designed by John Darby, was opened in late 2008.

Coming in third is The Hills, the private course opened by Queenstown resident and jeweller Michael Hill.

The Hills was opened in 2007 and has been the co-host of the New Zealand Open in recent years.

A nine-hole par -3 course was added to The Hills last year.

Millbrook, which co-hosts the New Zealand Open with The Hills, came in No9, the same ranking last year.

The course is about to add another nine holes so will have two full courses to play.

Millbrook was opened in 1993 by the Ishii family and has always been among the top-ranking courses. It sits close by The Hills course in the Arrowtown area while Jacks Point sits below the Remarkables and on the edge of Lake Wakatipu.

The rankings have been compiled by 27 people in golf, both professional players and administrators.

The ranking system was based on seven criteria which cover the key factors essential in good golf course design and for what is important to golfers.

This included risk/reward, playability, layout, design, scenic values, conditioning and ambience. There were some hidden gems which did not make the cut — Ohope in Bay of Plenty and Roxburgh were said to have great features which made them fantastic places to play.

Other courses included in the top 40 are Arrowtown (13), Otago Golf Club (31), Cromwell (33), Queenstown (34), Chisholm Links (35), Wanaka (37) and Invercargill (38).

The voters were Phil Aicken, Michael Baltrop, Leo Barber, Robyn Boniface, Barry Brown, Blair Dibley, Stuart Duff, Susan Farron, Simon Forshaw, Peter Fowler, Michael Glading, Doug Holloway, Denise Langdon, Richard Lee, Josh Longney, Dave Mangan, Trevor Marshall, Nigel Merrett, Willie Moore, Grant Moorhead, Tony Nowell, John Sanders, Dominic Sainsbury, Brad Shilton, Duncan Simpson, John Spraggs and Fraser Wilkin.

This list was compiled by New Zealand PGA director and former Chisholm Links professional Andrew Whiley.

Top New Zealand golf courses

1. Tara Iti (last year 1)
2. Jack Point (7 tied)
3. The Hills (6)
4. Kinloch (2)
5. Cape Kidnappers (4)
6. Kauri Cliffs (3)
7. Paraparaumu (7 tied)
8. Waireki (5)
9. Millbrook (9)
10. Titirangi (14)
11. Carrington (13)
12. Muriwai (12)
13. Arrowtown (10)
14. Mount Maunganui (19)
15. Hastings (16)
16. Royal Wellington (11)
17. Gulf Harbour (15)
18. Manawatu (17)
19= New Plymouth (23)
19= Clearwater (20)

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