An outstanding Championship course
This is an outstanding championship creation by the Golden Bear – Jack Nicklaus. It’s also the only Jack Nicklaus design golf course in New Zealand.
The location and scenery is stunning. It’s a dramatic and undulating landscape next to the Lake Taupo. The course is nestling its way through the landscape in a very nice way and the holes are separated from each other. The variation of the holes is very appealing. Even though not by the ocean, it certainly have a modern links style to it.
You’ll find contoured fairways with very few flat places to put your feet. You’ll find numerous well placed rugged beautiful bunkers with many different shapes. Undulated greens protected by bunkers and very hard to stick the ball on and if you do, you need to be very creative with your putting.
This is a golf course that will not give you a moment to relax at any point. You need to be 110% focused all the time. Ball position is crucial and you need to be very accurate off the tee. You’ll find that the real landing area is very small and often to a narrow fairway. Bunkers always come in play and in particular around the greens. The fairways and greens are also surprisingly firm, having in mind that the golf course is only five years old. What I also like about this golf course is that almost every hole gives you a choice on how you want to play it – brilliant.
All the holes are very unique and as Jack has mentioned “all holes are signature holes”. My signature holes are though:
Hole 3 – 147 meters par 3
You need to carry the ball over the little lake. Wind and club selection is crucial. Undulated green is making the challenge even greater. 6-iron to the middle of the green and a solid two put for a par – no drama.
Hole 4 – 391 meters par 4
Dogleg left with five fairway bunkers to the left. 200 meters carry and you have passed the main bunker in play. Don’t be two long because you’ll have a downhill lie for your second shot which makes it more difficult. Undulated green protected by 3 large bunkers. Drive ended up between fairway bunkers – OK lie, approach shot to the right green bunker, from the bunker to 6 meters from hole, two put for a bogey 5.
Hole 8 – 478 meters par 5
Great hole where you have two fairway options on your second shot. First you though need to get safely on fairway from tee – plenty of fairway bunkers on both sides in the landing area. 20+ bunkers on this hole! 240-meter drive in the middle of fairway, 3 wood 50 meters short of green to the left, pitch to 3 meters from hole, missed birdie put for a par 5.
Holes 16 – 481 meters par 5
S shaped hole. Aim to the left of the right fairway bunkers. If you are a long hitter, you may go for the green, but a safer option is to be right of the bunkers in the lay up area and have a short approach shot over the green bunkers. After a good drive, I did not go for the safe option. 3 wood to the left of the green and 40 meters short, pitch to 5 meters from hole, two put for a par. Really wanted a birdie on this hole.
It was the perfect day for golf, warm, sunny and almost no wind at all. My game came together completely today and it was just one of those few days where you just step up to the ball, hit it in a confident relaxed way and just makes the score. With a slightly hotter putter it could have been a very good score, because I had a very reasonable birdie put on almost each hole. A three over par 39 on the front nine and a one over par 37 on the back made a total of 76 (gross). I’m extremely pleased with a four over par score on this very challenging golf course.
Kinloch is a masterpiece and have in mind this is a championship course. It’ll challenge you to the extreme and most likely beat you up. Controlling frustration is a good skill to have. Regardless, you’ll have an extraordinary experience and a desire to soon play it again.
The Kinloch Golf Club