|Cape Kidnappers Golf Course|
It was a bit of a risk attempting this in May as we're well into autumn and you just don't know if you'll get sunny and mild or cool and rainy. And since we'd mostly be playing seaside courses, the wind would be a big variable, too.
Our first two days were spent in Hawke's Bay playing the should-be-a-household-name Cape Kidnappers Golf Course. This amazing track is situated high on the cliffs above the ocean and makes you wonder how somebody had the idea to build something as crazy as a golf course here. "Dramatic" is the understatement of the century here. From hole to hole the word "wow" came from my lips countless times. It's really quite breathtaking!
The Head Professional at Cape Kidnappers, Jon McCord, just moved out here last November from Minnesota and gave us quite possibly one of the best weather days of the year there. Sunny skies, mild temps, and calm winds gave us an unbeatable introduction to this World's Top 100 course. Jon's welcoming and genuine demeanor made our time there just that much better. He's pretty great.
With our first day of golf a roaring success we figured we had to play it again the next day, and it wouldn't matter if the weather turned for the worse because we played it at its best. Well, somehow the next day got even a little nicer and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to experience the course again. It makes the memory of the holes stick that much more which is great. I just can't say enough good things about this place.
The next course on the list was Kauri Cliffs, a sister course to Cape Kidnappers and situated way up towards the top end of the North Island - so that meant some driving was on deck. First it was an evening 5.5 hour drive in some rain from Napier to Auckland to spend the night at our place. Then it was up early the next day to make the 3.5 hour drive to Kauri Cliffs. Yep, we're committed!
The drive up started out rainy and cloudy but by the time we arrived at the course it was warm, sunny, and calm yet again! We have a gift, I guess. And what's more we were literally the only two golfers on the course the whole day. So it's a little embarrassing to say to say we took almost 5 hours BUT that was because we had our cameras and couldn't stop taking photos. :-)
Kauri Cliffs has just nearly as much drama and wow factor as Cape Kidnappers but a very different look stretched out over the immense green hills high above the sea. It's more of an "island course" feel I guess and it's hard to call it more or less beautiful that Cape Kidnappers. Just amazing, really!
The next day was a "rest" day to enjoy some sights around the Bay of Islands and the giant kauri trees along the west coast of the North Island. Good fun. And our last bit of golf was back in Auckland at the Alister MacKenzie designed Titirangi. Much more of a "traditional" course and quite lovely set right in the middle of the city yet you feel like you're out in the country. I can now see and appreciate the reason MacKenzie - the designer of Augusta National and many others - is so well thought of. And the weather? Once again nearly perfect.
Mike and I had an amazing week of golf that pretty much ranks up there as a "golf trip of a lifetime". Not to mention getting to sample lots of Kiwi cuisine, pubs, and scenery. Sure glad Mike decided to cross the Pacific to make it happen!
Click here for some photos of our week. Don't worry, they're not ALL golf holes. :-)