Muriwai Golf Links
On the wild West Coast of New Zealand, 18 holes weave through dunes, heather and pine. Golf the way nature intended.
The Round Up
Location: 40 minutes West of Auckland
Green Fees (NZD): Domestic: $80
Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Tip: Aim up the left, there's plenty of room and right is dead!
The Takeaways: Excellent conditioning, Strong variety in the layout, Wild coastal experience, Some bushes and pines lining the fairways on longer holes take away from the links character of the course
Signature Hole: 8th Hole
Insider Knowledge: Play the course first thing in the morning, an amazing coastal haze sets across the course
8th - Par 3 with an elevated tee, hitting straight down the hill towards the Tasman Sea, to an undulating green guarded by deep pot bunkers. Dramatic view overlooking the Ocean and dunes.
12th - The best Par 5 on the course is a dogleg left, with expertly placed fairway bunkering which requires a pitch out sideways. The green is protected by black pot bunkers.
13th - The polarising Par 4 is a dogleg left playing to a severely elevated green sloping back to front with drastic runoffs both sides, making for an extremely challenging approach.
The West Coast of New Zealand is known for its rugged, black sand beaches, with wild winds and waves attracting surfers from all over the world. However, Muriwai has become a popular destination for those searching for entertainment of a different speed. 40 minutes West of Auckland, in the heart of a regional park, Muriwai Golf Club traverses through the dunes, heather and pines of some of New Zealand’s most rugged terrain.
The course hugs the beach so tightly that it has had to be re-routed multiple times as the ocean began to erode a number of the holes, which is what makes Muriwai so special. With the sea breeze, ocean mist, and the sound of crashing waves creating a therapeutic environment to chase round a little white ball, it’s tough to have a bad day out there.
Playing at Muriwai is to play the game of golf as nature intended it. Everything about the way the course is routed feels as though it has been there forever, and as you weave in and out of the dunes, and across the rippling, undulating fairways, it becomes intensely obvious that little dirt was moved in the construction of the course. Muriwai is the perfect advocate for Mother Nature being the world’s greatest golf course architect.
Muriwai Golf Club has links in its heart- Pot bunkers, free-flowing fairways, greenside swales, and the most incredible sand-based Kikuya grass, which allows for excellent conditioning all year round. The ‘spongey’ nature of the Kikuya grass does however, preclude Muriwai from the firm and fast conditions of Scottish links, more inclined to grab the ball rather than skip in forward.
The course is expertly routed along the coast, with plenty of variety in the layout making for an engaging round. Coastal links holes are intertwined with pine lined fairways, and an assortment of doglegs left and right, are mixed in with some intriguing par 3’s. This level of variety is what makes Muriwai a course you could play every day without getting bored, and that’s without mentioning the natural variety provided by the coastal gales adding another level to the challenge! The par 3 8th hole is the coastal gem of the course, playing straight out towards panoramic views of the Tasman Sea to an undulating green guarded by deep pot bunkers.
50 bunkers in a variety of shapes and sizes litter the course, their black sand mirroring that of the neighboring coastline. The shapes and positioning of these bunkers are one of the key defenses of the course, and they may well lay claim to being the best bunkers in the country, as well as one of the most unique features of the course.
Muriwai boasts 18 unique green complexes, each with their own quirks and design features. As with many of the great links, the slopes and multi-tiers create opportunities for tricky pin positions and some extremely fun shots around the greens. As a result of this, Muriwai is predominantly a second shot course, and with the wide fairways providing opportunities to get the ball in play, the second shot is where low (and high) scores are manufactured. This is my favourite aspect of Muriwai, the course is wide enough to be playable for all, but to score well approach shots must be accurate and left in the correct spot, avoiding all of the danger around and on the greens.
Muriwai is an absolute gem, and provides seaside variety to Auckland’s golfing landscape. The rugged yet tranquil setting is perfectly complemented by a wide variety of captivating holes routed through the dunes, making the drive out worth every minute.
Booking a Tee Time
Muriwai is very receptive to guests, and one of the most accessible courses in the Auckland region. Booking a week in advance should guarantee a tee time (Excluding Saturdays).
Booking requests should be sent through email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Stay
lf making the trip out to Muriwai, it is absolutely worth staying a night out on the West Coast and exploring its wild black sand beaches.
A number of Airbnbs are available in Muriwai, as well as along the coastline. Piha is an excellent alternative, with its beach renowned for being the roughest in the country.
Best Golf Within 45 Minutes:
The wider Auckland area is loaded with good golf, and is an area that is often overlooked by visitors. Within a short drive of Formosa you can play:
- Remuera Golf Club
What to do in the Area
A day or two on the West Coast should be filled with hopping along the rugged beaches including:
- Piha Beach
- Bethells Beach
- Muriwai Beach
- Whatipu Beach
Each of these offers unique and distinguishing features and make for a scenic day out.
If you're feeling adventurous, the 18km return hike from Muriwai to Bethells Beach along the Te Henga Walkway is stunning!