Tara Iti has a case for the greatest meeting of land and sea in all of golf. Since opening in October 2015, the links layout near the small township of Mangawhai, 90 minutes north of Auckland, has emerged as one of the world’s must-play courses.
Californian financier Ric Kayne and American architect Tom Doak transformed Tara Iti from a pine-covered Sahara by the sea into what has become this country’s first exclusive, American-style private golf club.
Taking its title from the Maori name of the critically threatened New Zealand fairy tern, Tara Iti is purpose-built to offer one of the world’s finest golf experiences.
After removing acres of trees, Doak’s team spent more than two years gently contouring the sandy soil, forming hummocks, punchbowls and sand dunes that look like they were shaped by wind and vegetated by nature. Spectacular views out towards the islands of the Hauraki Gulf add to the majesty.
“Throughout the round, the overwhelming sense at Tara Iti is of playing a course with a distinct character and personality. There isn’t anything else quite like this in golf,” says world-renowned architecture guru and Planet Golf author Darius Oliver.
“Not only are holes dominated by vast expanses of white sand, they are mostly designed with enormous fescue fairways and distinct safe/aggressive shot options. The dune vegetation is indigenous to this region and Doak’s team did well to marry the immaculate dunes with enough plant life to provide colour and contrast but not unplayability.”