Tee­ing off in Taupo

A visit to Taupo isn’t com­plete with­out a visit to Taupo Golf Club, writes Hec­tor MacKen­zie.

Go Travel New Zealand - - Taupo -

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.

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