Opened: Oc­to­ber 2015 Back­ground:

Business Traveler (USA) - - WELL BEING -

With the open­ing of Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kid­nap­pers a lit­tle over a decade ago, New Zealand golf re­ceived a much-needed shot in the arm in terms of its abil­ity to at­tract the af­flu­ent golf tourist. While the coun­try is not short on good cour­ses – Para­pa­raumu near Welling­ton is one of the South­ern Hemi­sphere’s finest links, for ex­am­ple – these ex­cep­tion­ally scenic lay­outs, each with their own lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion and on-site spas, opened the coun­try up to a new crowd; the type of well­heeled folk who have lit­tle is­sue spend­ing $500 a night and $250 on a round of golf. Tara Iti, which like Cape Kid­nap­pers was de­signed by the renowned Tom Doak, is the lat­est ad­di­tion to New Zealand’s port­fo­lio of cour­ses – and by all ac­counts, it is an ab­so­lute cracker.

Lo­cated a 75-minute drive north of Auck­land, the course lies hard by the sea on sandy, links-like ter­rain that has been sculpted and con­toured to per­fec­tion. The course, which is part of an up­mar­ket prop­erty con­cern, only opened to pri­vate play in Oc­to­ber 2015 and, un­like Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kid­nap­pers, doesn’t look to be wel­com­ing those with­out a mem­ber’s in­vi­ta­tion any time soon. Tara Iti seems to have all the de­sign char­ac­ter­is­tics to make it a shoo-in for top-100 course sta­tus, so one hopes its vis­i­tor pol­icy changes. been routed over and around im­pres­sive sea­side sand dunes, this par-71 chal­lenge pro­vides a set­ting and play­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that is more akin to the great cour­ses of south­west Ire­land than trop­i­cal In­dochina. Given its prox­im­ity to the coast, wind is nearly al­ways a fac­tor at The Bluffs, but the course, which also fea­tures sig­nif­i­cant el­e­va­tion changes through­out, re­mains highly en­joy­able for mere mor­tals thanks to the gen­er­ous fair­ways that Nor­man and his ar­chi­tects have pro­vided.

The course forms part of the Grand Ho Tram Strip, an am­bi­tious re­sort and casino com­plex that in­cludes a fives­tar ho­tel, and it hosted its own Asian Tour event – the $1 mil­lion Ho Tram Open – in late 2015.

Green fees from $185. Two hours from Tan Son Nhat In­ter­na­tional Air­port (SGN).

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