Ngaruawahia Golf Club
The most welcoming course in the Waikato
The Round Up
Location: Ngaruawahia, Waikato
Green Fees: NZ Resident- $40, Overseas Visitor- $60
Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Advice: Keep to the right hand side of the fairway to give yourself the best angle in!
The Good: Extremely welcoming, Well conditioned, Reasonable variety of hole design
The Bad: Lack of risk-reward balance, Relatively unprotected greens, Stretches of straighter & less interesting holes
Signature Hole: 15th Hole
The 1st is a par 4, slight dogleg left playing to a punchbowl green framed by pines. An excellent hole which gives you the opportunity to open your round with both a birdie or a bogey.
The Par 4 11th, is both the best and toughest hole on the course- a sharp dogleg right playing into a back to front sloped green protected by a bunker on the left.
The 12th is a short par 3, with excellent views of the Waikato River. Two pot bunkers guard the undulating green, with a forced carry over a ravine. Can be extremely tough when the wind gets up!
Ngaruawahia Golf Club is routed along the banks of New Zealand’s longest river, the mighty Waikato, around 15 minutes from Hamilton city. The club is renowned for being one of the friendliest and most welcoming in the region, and is available for anyone to turn up and play 7 days of the week.
The tree-lined, parkland style layout is attractive on the eye, and always makes for a pleasant walk all year round. A sprinkling of bunkers hug the edges of most of the pure greens, which often play as the best across all of the courses in the Waikato. Ngaruawahia is an extremely playable and friendly golf course, with wide fairways, large, relatively flat greens, and holes which are routed in a straight-forward manner. This makes the course a relaxing, enjoyable experience without too much of the stress of some of the tougher championship courses across the country. However, what the course lacks in drama and difficulty it makes up for in warmth and welcome, as you are greeted with a smile and welcomed to a proper local Kiwi golf club.
While it will never be rated amongst the premium courses of New Zealand, Ngaruawahia is usually in excellent condition and has enough interesting holes across the layout to make it an interesting round. The opening hole is a gem and sets the tone beautifully, with a slight dogleg left playing to a punchbowl green framed by pines There are a decent number of doglegs shaping both ways mixed in with predominantly straighter holes, and like most Waikato courses, the fairways undulate through the rolling land.
Some severe changes in elevation add some variety to the course, particularly the short par 4 15th , playing 250m to a raised green and requiring you to split the pair of fairway bunkers. The back 9 is the more interesting half, with the 11th both the best and toughest hole on the course- a sharp dogleg right playing into a back to front sloped green protected by a bunker on the left.
The let-down of the course is that there is a lack of protection on and around the greens. The greens are pretty much unguarded, with limited protection from sloped run-off areas and `bunkering. This takes away from the creativity required in approach shots and limits the challenge around the greens. Some stronger contouring and bunkering would make the course a much greater challenge.
Despite its limitations, Ngaruawahia is a highly enjoyable day out on a well-conditioned course, holding enough design variety to keep players engaged. Well worth a visit!
Booking a Tee Time
As noted above, Ngaruawahia is as welcoming to guests as any in the country, 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 email@example.com
Where to Stay
Hamilton is the closest city, around 15 minutes South, 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 (1:15), Mount Maunganui, Rotorua and the Coromandel Beaches are all reachable within 2 hours!