Covid-19 death puts top Canterbury golf course on auction block

Terrace Downs Golf Resort has been praised as one of New Zealand's best courses. Photo: Supplied
Terrace Downs Golf Resort has been praised as one of New Zealand's best courses. Photo: Supplied
One of Canterbury's top golf courses is to be auctioned following the death of its owner from Covid-19.

Terrace Downs Golf Resort in Windwhistle, under shadow of the Southern Alps, was bought by Japanese investor Hiroshi Hasegawa in 2012 after he was given the go-ahead by the Overseas Investment Office.

Hasegawa, who had turned the resort into a globally recognised luxury golf and adventure destination, died aged 59 in April after becoming ill with Covid-19. His estate is now selling the resort.

Tim Rookes, managing director of CBRE Christchurch, and Warren Hutt, senior director of capital markets, CBRE Auckland, are marketing the property on behalf of Hasegawa's estate, with the auction set to take place on September 17 in Christchurch.

In addition to the course, the resort also features a large club house. The property is being sold as land and buildings only, offering flexible options for the new owner, says Rookes.

“We are expecting strong interest from high net worth investors and consortiums, who will recognise this as a rare chance to acquire a very well-known property. This is a fantastic opportunity to own a championship golf course which is regarded as one of the best in the country,” he says.

The sale also presents the possibility for the resort to return to local ownership, says Hutt. “This stunning property is being sold in highly unfortunate circumstances. Its owner was passionate about golf and loved New Zealand,” he says.

“Given the current Covid situation globally as well as OIO restrictions, this is an excellent opportunity for a New Zealand individual or group to acquire the property at well below replacement value and reinvent it for the future.

“Golf courses certainly don’t come up on the market very often, certainly not in such a magnificent setting as this, so we expect this will be seen as a trophy asset by prospective buyers.”

Located less than one hour’s drive from Christchurch Airport, the resort features extensive landscaping, with tussock plantings, lakes and stands of woodland and bush. A long, 1.8km riverfront boundary borders the Rakaia River, with terraced lawns providing excellent views of the river. Panoramic views of Mt Hutt and surrounding mountains are a strong feature throughout the property.

Sealed roads provide access to 78 privately-owned residential sites; including a cluster of 52 apartments and 26 free-standing chalet-style homes scattered throughout the property.

A portion of land at the property’s southern end, known as The Peaks, was previously consented for subdivision into 20 large luxury home sites, however this consent has lapsed.

The Terrace Downs golf course is regarded as the finest high-country course in New Zealand and was ranked by New Zealand Golf magazine as one of the top five courses for layout in the country. The challenging par 72 course offers a choice of four tees on each hole and incorporates 10 lakes and over 60 bunkers.

Designed by the late Sid Puddicombe, a celebrated Canadian golf course architect, the Terrace Downs course is 6,406m long and is described as having a Scottish highland feel.

Playing golf at Terrace Downs is quite a unique experience, says Rookes.

“Wherever you are on the course, the spectacular views are a constant distraction. It’s literally right at the foothills of the Southern Alps, with Mt Hutt and the surrounding mountains giving the impression of rising incredibly steeply up from the property. Looking down at the Rakaia River from the terraced lawns at the bottom of the property is also an unmissable experience.”

As well as golf, the resort and surrounding area offer countless other recreational options, making it a perfect destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the outdoors, Hutt says.

“Before the Terrace Downs resort operations closed for business earlier this year, it was a popular venue for getaways due to the huge range of activities on offer. The resort itself has existing facilities for archery, clay bird shooting, tennis, mountain biking and a driving range,” he says.

“It’s really a place where you can get away from it all and recharge the batteries – doing as much or as little as you like in a peaceful and picturesque setting.”

One of the most popular local activities is skiing, with Mt Hutt just 40 minutes away. Porters and several club ski fields are also within easy reach. Local tour operators are available to take guests salmon fishing, horse trekking, jet boating, heli skiing, heli sightseeing, deer stalking, quad biking, rafting and farm tours. There are also plentiful hiking options, with a famous local walk at Washpen Falls as well as several DOC tracks in the area. Lake Coleridge is also a short drive away, says Rookes.

“The owners also had previous plans for a hunting lodge, wedding chapel and separate hotel and conference centre on the property – illustrating just a few of the options that could be available should the new owner wish to undertake further development.”


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