Located somewhat adjacent to Tara Iti on New Zealand's north east coast, the two courses at Te Arai Links are setting a new standard for New Zealand golf.
The South Course was designed by world renowned architects Coore Crenshaw and opened for play in October 2022.
The course occupies an extensive tract of coastal sand dunes very close to Tara Iti, and is the second of three courses developed by American Ric Payne and team.
The land may be close to Tara Iti, but the dunescape and design are quite different.
It has matured to be one of the most visually striking links courses in the world.
It is a joy to play!
Te Arai now boasts 36 holes with Tom Doak and his Renaissance men completing Te Arai Links with the North Course.
It opened for play in October 2023.
Architect Tom Doak set the standard at Tara Iti- a course we think is very comfortably lodged in the world's ten best courses..
So how does Tom Doak follow up?
With the North Course at Te Arai now open, the common question is how does it stack up against his own design at Tara Iti, and Coore Crenshaw's South Course?
Mr Doak had less coastline to work with, and has chosen to offer a distinctly different course- one that contrasts nicely with it's neighbours..
The North Course is not immediately straight forward to play, but rewards repeat rounds, and is perhaps the most fun course to play.
We loved it!
The North Course starts off with one of the great opening holes in golf.
It's a short par four with spectacular ocean views.
The course then turns inland and threads it's way through acres of sand dunes and pine trees before returning to the coast on the 16th green.
There are some holes where the greens are partially blind, and quite a number of holes where the large greens have significant movement.
These greens are defined by all sorts of slopes, ridges and bowls- making it important for the player to have some local knowledge.
First time around it can be an exacerbating journey!
But on repeat plays the player know the lines of play, and the challenges around the greens are somewhat less threatening..
On our second outing on the north course a number of us moved forward to the white tees where we found the approach shots more reasonable.
Even more important was a little bit of knowledge about the challenges each green displayed.
As a group we got great joy out of taking on those challenges with some innovative ways to get to the hole.
The north course can be frustrating and difficult on first play, but mellows with repeat plays.
It is special course, and great fun.
Notable holes include:
- hole 1, a dramatically photographic short par four- is this the perfect opening hole? (see pic top of page)
- hole 2, a testing longer par 3, with ocean backdrop
- hole 7, a challenging par 3 in a lovely setting
- hole 8, a really interesting short par four
- hole 12, a longer par three with slopes to work with..
- hole 16, a down and up fairway with an enormous semi- blind green
- hole 17, an eye catching short par 3 in a majestic coastal setting
Te Arai Links is something very special.
The north and the south courses are significant in a global sense and will draw travelling golfers from all over the world.
Each has it's own character, and while they share a wonderful beach setting they are very different characters.
The south course will beguile you with it's beauty and playability, while the north will frustate when first played with blind shots and dramatic greens.
But on multiple plays the North brings a fun factor not often seen in modern golf.
Together the North and South courses at Te Arai set a new standard in world golf.
Te Arai Links- North Course is a "Travelling Golfer must play!"
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For suggested destinations see: Golf Destinations- New Zealand
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