Golf

The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

Lochiel and The Nar­rows, sep­a­rated by only a hand­ful of kilo­me­tres at Tama­here near Hamil­ton Air­port, op­er­ated in­de­pen­dently for decades un­til it was sug­gested they merge, which they did in 2010. They now func­tion suc­cess­fully as the River­side Golf Club, Waikato’s only 36-hole golf op­er­a­tion.

Lochiel, which dates from 1939, is a true cham­pi­onship course bor­dered by the mighty Waikato River and Mys­tery Creek. Prac­ti­cally every na­tional event has been held here at some stage. It’s an at­trac­tive nat­u­ral-style course pro­vid­ing a good test for play­ers of all lev­els. It is blessed with free-drain­ing soils, mean­ing it re­mains in good con­di­tion through the worst weather. Be­cause the course plays over old riverbeds, it has sharply de­fined ridges and val­leys. It is any­thing but bor­ing. The par-4 fourth is the No 1 stroke hole with river on the left and trees on the right, lead­ing to an el­e­vated green. The river is 10 me­tres to the left of the green where only se­ri­ous hooks end up. The Nar­rows – so named not be­cause the course is lit­er­ally nar­row but be­cause Maori tribes orig­i­nally oc­cu­pied the land, be­ing the nar­row­est point of the Waikato River – is shorter than Lochiel but ar­guably more dif­fi­cult. Es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing, and the most talked­about hole, is the par-3 18th where you play from an el­e­vated tee to an el­e­vated green. It’s only 111 me­tres from the white boxes but with the green about the size of a small ta­ble top, it’s not easy find­ing it. Par (Lochiel) 72 (6025m); (The Nar­rows) 72 (5827m). Green fees (both cour­ses) $30 (af­fil­i­ated), $40 (un­af­fil­i­ated).

Lochiel Road, Tama­here, (07) 843 6287, river­side­golf.co.nz

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.