Teeing off in Taupo
A visit to Taupo isn’t complete without a visit to Taupo Golf Club, writes Hector MacKenzie.
SSituated next to beautiful Lake Taupo, Taupo Golf Club is unique in New Zealand as the only course to have two 18 hole courses at the same location. With history dating back to 1928 when local legend Vivian Fail pioneered the development of the land, the course has been played and endorsed by many Kiwi golfing pros, such as Sir Bob Charles in 1969. Less than a three minutes drive from the centre of Taupo, the flagship ‘Centennial Course’ has hosted many national events, and has been recently upgraded with advice and consulting from professional golfer Greg Turner. The removal of some trees, along with other renovations, has transformed the course into an impressive ‘inland links’ design. The well-manicured fairways and greens are very impressive, and the championship course offers any golfer a challenging experience. The club prides itself on the quality of the course, and they take great care in ensuring it remains in prime condition all year round. We discovered this ourselves during our most recent round at the course in May - the greens were in superb condition. At about 6350 metres long, the Centennial Course is certainly designed for the professional golfer. With two par 3s and three par 5s on the front nine, and two par 3s and one par 5 on the way back, the course has a clear layout and is easy to follow. However, if your driving is not as straight as it should be, players may find themselves in deep rough or in one of about
40 sand bunkers on the way. Upon reflection of our trip, I certainly remember dropping into one too many bunkers. We did manage some birdies, though, and that is what keeps us coming back. The sister course, the Tauhara, is much more forgiving. Slightly shorter (at 5667 metres), flatter and wider than the Centennial, the course is mainly utilised by veterans, female players, juniors and corporate groups. We played this course also, and I certainly found it much easier, scoring under par over the 18 holes. Although suited to varying levels of golfing experience, the two courses have one major thing in common: The breathtaking views. Both courses offer dramatic views of nearby Mount Tauhara, while the famous Mount Ruapehu and the Tongaririo National Park are just over an hour away. Another unique aspect is that either course is playable 365 days of the year. As the courses are laid out on pumice soils, which are free draining, the fairways and greens do not get bogged down during adverse weather conditions. Being situated in the central North Island of New Zealand, players will often find themselves in near perfect temperatures.
With a fully stocked pro shop specialising in club fitting, golfers can receive a high level of professional advise to improve their game. With the opportunity to try the latest technology, golfers purchasing clubs are offered ‘FlightScope’ ball tracking to ensure the clubs and swing are fully suited to one another. Utilising the technology, I purchased a brand new Callaway Fairway wood - a brand I hadn’t played with much before, but it’s definitely worth the price tag for me. If your game requires further improvement, the Taupo Golf Club’s teaching professional James Morgan is also on hand to offer a personalised and structured pathway to playing better golf. By analysing your current strengths and weaknesses, James offers useful advice in achieving your golfing goals. I took the opportunity to work with James a few years ago and I’d honestly say that my long game has dramatically improved since the sessions. We used a digital video camera to capture and breakdown my swing, and then rewatching this on the laptop provided me with a greater understanding of my mistakes. With an excellent driving range, two practice areas, significant member benefits, a fully equipped club house, special events, championships and corporate days, there are so many reasons to visit the Taupo Golf Club.