When the players step onto the first tee for the 2018 edition of the New Zealand Amateur Championship later this month, they’ll be excused for being distracted by their surroundings. Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary, which for so long was known as Wairakei International Golf Course, is an ornament to the sport in New Zealand – and in more ways than one.

Spellbinding scenery melded with shrewd design has long seen Wairakei firmly ensconced in any conversation about the best golf courses in the country.

The 180-hectare site is awash with flora and fauna, including birdlife and four-legged residents, waterfalls, streams and a vast array of spectacular Taupo verdure.

Which isn’t to suggest the course plays second fiddle to the setting. The international trio of Commander John Harris, Peter Thomson and Mike Wolveridge combined to pen the first course that put New Zealand golf on the world map, a layout that tested the sharp field contesting last year’s New Zealand Amateur from October 30 to November 4.

Wairakei

THE DETAILS

Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary

Where: Wairakei Drive, Taupo, Waikato
Green fee: $165
Phone: +64 7 374 8152
Web: wairakeigolfcourse.co.nz