Hole #1 Totara
Par 4, Length 330m men 321m ladies Stroke 5 men, 4 ladies
A nice medium-length par 4 to start your round. Slight dogleg left. Ideal position for drive is right-hand side of fairway. Drives along the left will be blocked from the green by the three Totara trees that are about 70 m from the green. The green slopes from back to front and can be very fast in that direction, so best to leave the ball below the hole to avoid a 3 putt.
Tōtara grow up to 30 metres tall, with massive trunks. They were used by the Māori for canoes and carving. There are three fine examples in the grove on the left side of the fairway close to the green.
Hole #2 Tarata
Par 3, Length 170m men 150m ladies Stroke 12 men, 14 ladies
A tricky par three due to the small green being well protected by swails in the surrounds. Therefore a high, soft-landing shot is required to set up a birdie chance. There are many subtle undulations in this green – read your putts carefully.
On the left hand side of the hole, separating 2 from 18, is an interesting walkway of native Tarata or Lemonwood trees. If you have time, walk down this chute and by the scent you will know why Tarata are also called Lemonwood.
Hole #3 Fantail
Par 4, Length 220m men, 220m ladies Stroke 17 men, 16 ladies
A short par 4 that will reward you with an eagle opportunity with a perfect right-to-left drive. It is definitely a risk/reward situation as there are out of bounds just beyond, a hazard just to the left before the green, along with two bunkers behind! Pitches, chips or long putts can sometimes roll off the back or left if they are slightly heavy.
The fantail is perhaps New Zealand’s favourite bird. You may see them anywhere on the course, and often in close proximity to you. They may hover very close to you looking for insects that may fly up as you walk.
Hole #4 Rimu
Par 3, Length 117m men, 112m ladies Stroke 18 men, 18 ladies
A difficult par 3 with out of bounds to the left, the right and long! A high trajectory is needed to hold the green; however it is also possible for a shorter shot to run up on the green. There are subtle breaks towards the front and left-hand side. A par here is a good score.
If your tee shot is short and to the left you may end up in a little grove of native trees, including Kanuka, a Rimu, a Totara and a Tanekaha. Rimu is a fine timber used for a wide range of products, including furniture and flooring. It is a beautifully grained wood!
Hole #5 Manuka
Par 5, Length 375m men, 375m ladies Stroke 8 men, 10 ladies
A unique short par 5 that is a double dogleg left. For the men a tee shot of about 170 metres that has a big right-to-left swing might leave you at the corner of the second dogleg with an easy shot to the green to set up an eagle. Be careful in your shot selection, however. Many a drive has ended up out of bounds in the native bush to the left of the tee, and a straight drive might go through the fairway into the trees. Some pundits advise hitting three short iron shots of 125 metres, and one putt for a birdie! Off the tee, aim for the Golden Totara and swing it left.
The native bush to the left contains a nice variety of tree ferns, manuka and kanuka. In front of the tee to the left are two interesting native trees, a Tanekaha and a Miro.
Hole #6 The Grove
Par 3, Length 136m men, 136m ladies Stroke 14 men, 12 ladies
Our shortest par three. An easy iron from an elevated tee to a large, receptive green. This is your best chance for a birdie 2 on the course. Hit it straight as there is out of bounds on the left and a grove of native trees on the right.
The grove of trees protecting the front right of the green, contains many fine natives, including, Golden Totara, Kauris, Puriri and Lemonwood.
Hole #7 Punga
Par 5, Length 450m men, 427m ladies Stroke 19 men, 6 ladies
A reachable par 5 for the long hitters, but it will require a very accurate drive. The creek all along the left is a lateral hazard and the many large trees on the right will prove a problem in that direction. The green is receptive with a slight slope to the front. Be careful not to hit it over the green or you may end up in the creek!
Tree ferns are some of the most distinctive features of NZ forests. Ferns are typically found in moist, forested areas because they require lots of water. The silver fern or punga is a national symbol and is named for the silver underside of its fronds.
Hole #8 Flax
Par 4, Length 369m men 324m ladies Stroke 1 men, 2 ladies
Another difficult par four. The large tree to the left of the tee forces a slight right-to-left drive, but don’t go too far left or you will be blocked from the green by more trees. The green is slightly elevated, and will hold a well hit iron. There are some subtle breaks on this green, particularly back to front.
The magnificent Kauri is undoubtedly New Zealand’s most famous tree. A nice Kauri about 60 years old is directly behind the green. Whitianga was a major port in the 1800s when Kauri logging and Kauri gum collecting were at their peaks.