Looking out across 50 miles of coastline while you're playing golf is a site not often seen in the world. But it does exist. You may have to travel a little to find it, but the trip is well worth it. And that is the overwhelming consensus on Kauri Cliffs here in New Zealand. The course may be a bit distant from the rest of the golf world, but it is set apart even more by what you get once you get here. The uncluttered view out to the sea that we offer is the initial shocking element at Kauri Cliffs and, as is often said by golfers at the finish, the golf course matches the view. We set the bar of expectation incredibly high for our guests and then we take great pride in exceeding it. Take away the ocean views, the majestic cliffs, the ideal climate, and you would still have a fantastic golf layout. But add the other elements back in, and you have one of the real treasures in the world.
The gently plummeting front nine whisks you away from the first tee and down towards the South Pacific that waits below. The grand scale of glacier-cut landscape that surrounds the property dwarf the golfer and allow you to feel as if you're in a golf amphitheatre. Fifteen-minute tee time intervals allow for the few groups on the golf course to escape your sight after the 2nd hole, never to be seen again. Golfing at a relaxed pace and truly soaking up the atmosphere is what Kauri Cliffs is all about. This is how golf is meant to be played, in near-solitude and atop the cliffs overlooking the game-fish-filled waters just 150 feet below. Crashing waves won't get you wet at Kauri Cliffs but you'll be thinking of ways to frolic in the sky-blue waters after your round.
After the challenging but fair front nine brings you back to the clubhouse you'll be relieved to know, it's not over. Actually, the fun has just begun. The first 4 holes on the back play through the marshland valley and offer only a few glimpses of the blue ocean that you've permanently etched in your mind from the front nine. Some say the drive from the 13th green to the par-3 14th tee is where the beauty becomes surreal. At this point you're nearly hovering above those islands that on the front nine looked so far away. You can see the native species of trees on these islands and the wind-blown grasses that seem to grow right into the waves that are crashing on their shores. The stunning and placid Waiaua Bay sits below and beckons those golfers who wouldn't mind soaking up the rays at the beach. What makes this spot truly special is how the view changes and never tires as you play 4 of the final 5 holes along the cliffs to your left. This is where the golf often becomes secondary to photography or just daydreaming about this special place.
Kauri Cliffs Lodge guests are treated to these views throughout their entire stay from their wonderfully-appointed cottages perched inconspicuously in a nearby native Totara forest. Kauri Cliffs is one of those places in the world that words and pictures cannot capture; it requires the experience of something that is inexplicable.
The World's Most Beautiful Courses is a list of courses selected by the PGA.com Editorial Advisory Board.The only prerequisites asked of the Board were 1.) they select courses open for public play and 2.) they not vote for their own course. The top 12 courses will be featured, in no particular order, other than the top vote getter which was selected by a unanimous vote.
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