New Zealand Self Drive Adventures

October 29, 2018

I have golfed in several countries including; Canada, USA, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and of course NZ. I have also been employed as the General Manager of one of New Zealand’s major metropolitain golf courses. I would rate New Zealand as one of the most affordable and accessible places to play golf in the World (especially if you take the exchange rate for the New Zealand dollar into account.)

There are a very high number of golf courses per capita in New Zealand and it is considered a sport for everyone. Accordingly, prices need to be affordable. Most golf courses are owned by the members of the club and operate as a not for profit business that invests any excess profits back into improving the course or facilities. New Zealand does have a small number of privately owned courses and also has some public courses owned by city councils.

Courses owned by the members almost always encourage and welcome visitors and there is no need to be a member of another golf club or to have a handicap in order to play on these courses (unless you want to play in a competition event)

There are five basic types of courses:

International resort style courses which are located mainly at tourist venues such as Queenstown and Taupo and in large metropoltain centres like Auckland and Christchurch. These courses have full facilities available 7 days per week such as; clubhouse, restaurant, proshop and equipment hire. Prices can range from $75 -$2000NZ There are a few that are less expensive and a couple that cost more but on average you can expect to pay a green fee of approximately $100NZ or $65 US. Bookings in advance are recommended

Large Metropolitain club member courses which are located in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and a few large regional centres. These vary in quality and price but most have one thing in common; they are busy on the weekends and bookings are essential. Unless you are with a member, you may not be able to play during club competitions on the weekend. Most of these courses have the same level of facilities and opening hours as International courses but it pays to check before assuming you will be able to rent clubs. Prices range from $40 - $100 depending on the size of the membership and the quality of the course. The large metropolitain cities have multiple courses each. Auckland is the largest of these cities and has over 20 golf courses.

Regional club member courses which are located in tghe main regional towns. These may not provide the same level of facilities and services as the Metro and International courses, particularly on weekdays. Likewise the level of course maintenance may be slightly lower due to the reduced funds available through their smaller memberships. Nonetheless, some of New Zealands best courses are located in these places. The main difference if any, will be a lack of fairway watering and reduced opening hours of the clubhouse and proshop. Prices can range from $45 - $75 but on average are around $50. The larger the town the more courses there will be in each.

Rural club member courses which are located in virtually every small town. These can often be excellent courses but with very few facilities other than a clubhouse which only opens on weekends. In many instances there will be an honesty box where you pay your green fee (remember to bring cash) Some of these courses are delightful and on a weekday you may be the only person on the course. In mid summer these courses can become dry and firm due to a lack of fairway watering. Prices tend to range from $10NZ to $30NZ for 18 holes. This has to be the best value golfing anywhere.

Public courses are few and far between in NZ and located mainly in the major metropolitain centres. These courses usually have a pro shop and cafe. The tee times are first come first served so generally there is a line up. The quality of the courses is reasonable but often the layout is not challenging. Prices are similar to those for regional centre courses IE: around $50.

Below are a couple of examples of international courses. Both are excellent courses but one is a bit off the beaten track and the other is in a major centre and thus significantly more expensive.

What a golfers paradise!! Where ese can you play 12 months a year on courses that cost as little as $10 per round without booking a tee time?

If you are planning a trip or just want more specific detail, buy one of our golfing itneraries available in the touring section of our website. Our off the beaten track golf roadtrips let you see the real New Zealand and play golf every day on a modest budget.

David Turner

Author: David Turner