Cambridge Golf Club
The best routing in the Waikato
The Round Up
Location: Cambridge, Waikato
Green Fees: NZ Resident- $45, Overseas Visitor- $50
Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Advice: Take an iron up the right hand side of the fairway, don't hit it on the road!
The Takeaways: Excellent variety in the layout of the course, Undulating land with strong elevation changes, Poor conditioning, Mundane green complexes with little protection
The 4th a sharp dogleg left from an elevated tee with the fairway framed by dunes either side. The hole also offers the opportunity for bigger hitters to take it over the trees on the left at the green. An excellent risk-reward design!
The Par 4 11th, is the hardest hole on the course. A dogleg left which hugs the out of bounds markers on the left. Approach into a small green tucked into a bush-lined corner.
The 14th is a short par 3, playing 90 metres straight downhill with water short-left and bunkers surrounding the green, making for a nervy flick of a wedge!
Cambridge Golf Club, situated 20 minutes from Hamilton and established in 1900, is Waikato’s oldest golf club. The course is another one in the area which is routed along the banks of the Waikato River, and like the others, is an undulated and tree-lined parkland course.
Cambridge is an extremely playable and friendly golf course for all abilities, and does not play overly long- especially in the middle of Summer where the turf is firm, fast and bone-dry. There are no forced carries, nor deep rough or cavernous bunkers which would detract from the playing experience for the higher handicappers. Conditioning is often the biggest weak-point of the golf course, where Winter brings with it some significant drainage issues and extremely soft under foot conditions, whilst a lack of irrigation results in patchy fairways during Summer.
Cambridge offers a strong indicator of what’s to come with their opening hole – a relatively short par 4 from an elevated tee playing through a narrow shoot between hills with out of bounds left. The course may well have the strongest routing and layout of any course in Waikato. Sure there may be a few straightforward and less interesting holes, but it provides enough variety and quirk in the hole design to offer up some fun and engaging shots. Cambridge makes the most of being a ‘river-bed’ golf course, routing holes through significant slopes and changes in elevation. There is a fantastic balance of holes, with doglegs shaping both ways, short par 3’s and some challenging par 4’s.
The Par 4 fourth hole is the feature hole on the front 9, a sharp dogleg left from an elevated tee with the fairway framed by dunes either side. The hole also offers the opportunity for bigger hitters to take it over the trees on the left at the green. An excellent risk-reward design! The short Par 3 14th plays 90 metres straight downhill with water short-left and bunkers surrounding the green, making for a nervy flick of a wedge! The course is littered with holes of interesting design and in such different ways, which in itself makes the course an interesting day out.
In terms of the hole design and layout, the standout weak point is the green structures and their protection. The greens are generally mundane, relatively flat and slow. There is also a lack of protection of the greens with not a lot of bunkering, and given the amount of contouring across the fairways, it’s disappointing that there aren’t more run-off areas and swales used to protect the greens.
Overall, Cambridge’s routing and variety of hole structures is enough to make the course an enjoyable visit, despite the obvious conditioning issues. There are plenty of opportunities for fun and creative shots to be had, and playing well will always be rewarded with a good score.
Booking a Tee Time
Cambridge is welcoming to guests and you shouldn't have an issue getting a tee time at all (Excluding Saturday Mornings).
The best way to do this would be to drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Stay
Hamilton is the closest city, around 15 minutes away, however it is far from a tourism hotspot, with it mostly being a pass-through city for people on their way South of Auckland. That being said there are a couple of solid accommodation options and things to do in the city if you please.
- Novotel Hamilton offers nice hotel accommodation in the heart of the city at higher-end prices
- The newly built Ramada Hotel is also located on the main street (Victoria St), and offers budget rooms in a great spot
Best Golf Courses within 45 Minutes:
The Waikato region is certainly not one of the premier golfing destinations in New Zealand, however there are some solid option on the table including:
- Tieke Golf Estate
- Walton Golf Club
What to do in the Area
- The Hamilton Gardens are globally acclaimed, offering visitors free access to a range of cultural gardens. Well worth a visit and certainly the city's main attraction!
- A stroll down the Waikato River is an excellent way to spend an afternoon, passing through town for a Duck Island ice cream is essential!
- All Lord of the Rings lovers should venture 45 minutes from the city to Matamata and visit Hobbiton
If none of this takes your fancy, then rest assured that Auckland, Mount Maunganui, Rotorua and the Coromandel Beaches are all reachable within 2 hours!