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Russley Golf Club

A tight parkland design in the Garden City provides an examination of precision and execution

The Round Up

Location: Christchurch, Canterbury

Website: https://russleygolfclub.co.nz/

Green Fees: NZ Resident- $85, Overseas Visitor- $105

Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Advice: Keep it up the left hand side to avoid the out of bounds up the right. Drivable in Summer for longer hitters!

The Good: Well conditioned, Beautiful parkland walk, Interesting new green complexes

The Bad: Combination of length and tightness limits options for players and promotes a lack of risk-reward

Signature Hole: 5th Hole

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  • The 5th is a longer Par 5. A straight tee shot will leave a layup short of the water hazard in front of the heavily sloping green. Has collected its fair share of balls!

  • Par 4 8th is the hardest tee shot on the course, with the left and right of the fairway heavily protected by bunkers, and a tiny landing area in between. The hardest hole on the course features huge a multi-tiered green making for some tough putting no matter how good the approach.

  • The 14th is a short par 4 dogleg right. Option for the big hitters to take a blind line over the trees toward the green and layups are guarded by two fairway bunkers up the left. Creates plenty of options for different players.

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Developed in 1927 just five minutes from Christchurch Airport, Russley Golf Club presents a gorgeous course with dense collections of towering pines framing the fairways. At first glance, it becomes clear that Russley is going to be demanding, and by the fourth hole you’ll understand why. The club is exceptionally welcoming to visitors and they are extremely proud of their re-developed course.

Russley is a beautiful and enjoyable walk, providing the feel of a secluded forest on the outskirts of town and the golf course is in excellent condition. There’s something great about being amongst the trees and out in nature that makes Russley one of my favourite walking courses in the country. What it lacks in dramatic vistas, it makes up for in it’s beautiful parkland landscape. However, the elements that make the course such a gorgeous walk are also the things that will terrorise your golf game. Russley may well lay claim to being the tightest golf course in the country, and after a gentle short par 4 to start, the course reveals its teeth with tightly clustered skyscraper pines lining each of the fairways. The combination of length and tightness demands precision and execution, with any tee shot off line leaving you little option but to punch out sideways. If your long game is out of synch, Russley makes for a long day with some big numbers on the scorecard.

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Russley boasts an interesting enough layout of holes and there is enough variety to keep players engaged throughout the round. The course is far from short, and an assortment of doglegs provides intrigue to a mostly flat piece of land. Sporadic fairway and greenside bunkering, as well as water hazards around the 6th and 7th greens, provides adequate protection from scoring. Recently, all 18 of the greens at Russley were reshaped and re-contoured and the results are fantastic! A wide variety of awesome green complexes are spread across the course sloping in all directions, with the crown jewel being the enormous sloping, double-tiered 8th green. The green structures have added a fantastic element to the golf course, making for some exciting pin positions and fun approach shots.

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The main issue I have with Russley is the combination of length and tightness of the holes. The only option off most of the tees is to hit one dead straight, and anything off line is almost unplayable, particularly on the front 9. Because of this, there really is only one way to play each of the holes to score effectively, removing any creativity and optionality for players. Russley has the feel of a golf course that was designed with the better player in mind.

 

Russley is a great test of your golf game and will be sure to give it a thorough examination off the tee. Despite the restrictions imposed by the dense tree-lining, it provides a gorgeous walk, and an interesting combination of holes which will provide plenty of opportunities for fun golf shots. A solid golf course convenient to the centre of Christchurch!

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The Card

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Booking a Tee Time

 

Russley is the definition of a public golf club and is welcoming of guests at most times. Like most clubs, there are a number of Member only times scattered throughout the week, and Saturday is Members Day. Booking a few days in advance will be sufficient to land the tee time you're after. 

 

The best way to do this would be to drop them a line at golfshop@russleygc.co.nz

Tour Tips

Where to Stay

Post the 2011 earthquake which destroyed Christchurch's city centre, it has been restored in a modern and fun way. There are a number of fun pockets to the city and new places to stay. I would absolutely recommend staying within the city centre with plenty of bars and eateries at your door step.

 

High End: Newly built in 2019 within the city centre, Sudima Christchurch City is the newest 5 star offering. Offering deluxe rooms with views across the parks and cities and a spa facility. 

Mid-Range: Quest on Manchester provides clean and convenient self-catered apartment stays in the city centre

Budget: Offering stylish and clean rooms at low end prices, The Parque Christchurch is a great value stay in the heart of the city!

Best Golf Within 45 Minutes:

The Canterbury Region is spoiled for choice when it comes to golf. Plenty of different options with excellent variety:

- Christchurch Golf Club

- Clearwater Golf Club

- Harewood Golf Club

- Pegasus Golf & Sports Club

What to do in the Area

- Walk or drive up the Port Hills for amazing views over the alps, sea and city!

- Head up to The Pink Lady, Christchurch's new rooftop bar for a cocktail

- Browse the Riverside Market for some of the best food offerings in the city

- Take a ride on the City Tour Tram for convenient sightseeing!

- Check out why Christchurch is dubbed 'The Garden City' at Christchurch Botanical Gardens