Members buy into club
Put simply, Tara Iti runs as an equity membership model. That means members, or stakeholders, purchase a share of the club and if and when they decide to leave the
club they get their money back. Equity owners also have the right to pass their share on to future
generations or to sell. Jim Rohrstaff of Legacy Partners
says, “The concept has been exceptionally well received. We have a good mix of international
and New Zealand members.” The total size of the property is 1400 hectares, of which the golf course is built across 121 hectares. South of Te Arai Point is 700 hectares still to be developed
and upon which additional beachfront properties will be built. Currently on the northern half of the property are 46 sites,
35 on the beachfront and 11 on the golf course. In addition, seven two-bedroom member cottages have already been built. The house sites are between 1-3 hectares, with smaller sites of 1000-1400m ( home and land packages) available near the
member cottages. “Ron Whitten from Golf Digest has compared Tara Iti to Cypress Point, Royal Dornoch and Royal
St George’s, and also Pebble Beach which is regarded as the ultimate golf course, saying that claim is officially up for debate,” says Rohrstaff. “He’s making some pretty big statements about our
course. Tara Iti is there for the enjoyment of its members and guests but it has also got people talking about golf in New Zealand once again and our hope is it will
bring more people here.” subtle but as summer deepens the playing surfaces will become more visible as fairway watering is pared back to allow the fescue to turn golden.
Organic too is the design, the par-71 6264m (6900yds from the championship tees) course gently undulating and unfolding across 121 hectares of the 1400 hectare property.
The course is two distinct nines, separated by the clubhouse, designed by renowned New Zealand architect Pip Cheshire, and which is as subtle and organic as the golf holes surrounding it.
The first hole, a par-4, can cause first-timers to ponder just how large the landing zone is (and it won’t be the last time the same thought will cross your mind as you traverse the course) thanks to the rather tricky but clever design that creates a perception of a lack of space when in fact the opposite is what waits to reveal itself.
Indeed, generous fairways are a feature of the course, along with the fact that official bunkers don’t exist and the expanses of sand into which the fairways drift are all designated waste ground, meaning you can ground your club. It means there is no risk of having a Dustin Johnson-like Whistling Strait (remember the USPGA Championship of 2010) moment.
From the first tee the view is of course and pine forest, occasional clearings marking where houses on the generously proportioned sites will be constructed. So can you see the sea? Yes you can. It’s behind and to your left, a ribbon of blue beyond the dunes.
There is only one par-3 on the first nine, the second hole, and it is followed by two par-4s, the first of which plays to a punchbowl green that is largely hidden