New Zealand Golf Magazine

WAIRAKEI GOLF + SANCTUARY

- WORDS BY NZGM

This highly regarded course continues to offer so much and there is more to come.

When you have been associated with the Golf Industry for as many years as we have, and have also travelled a lot to view golf courses and attend top ranked golf events etc you can get a bit weary of the constant gushing of journalist­s, travel writers and opinion writers of the magnificen­ce of various golf courses.

Usually a lot of the gushing is centered on the course design and the geographic­al features. You will know the type. Indeed, we have a couple of courses in this country which are promoted as being magnificen­t but if you strip away some of the very clever usage of geography in the course design they could get close to being bland.

However, Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary, which has often been voted New Zealand's No.1 course, more to come on that, is truly spectacula­r. It's not about the views from the course – the course itself is magnificen­t with its trees, gardens, streams and wildlife.

Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary used to be more commonly known as Wairakei Internatio­nal. Over the last ten years or so what was an above average golf course has been transforme­d into one of the worlds truly great wildlife sanctuarie­s that has been cleverly melded into co habiting very successful­ly with golfers of all shapes, sizes and skill sets who play within 180 hectares of native flora and fauna.

Whilst researchin­g ways to enhance the natural habitats of their wildlife, owner Gary Lane and his team concluded that a fence that excluded all pests and predators was the only effective way to achieve their objective of creating such a sanctuary. Hence a 2-metre-high and 5.5km boundary fence was erected which now prevents both climbing and burrowing animals from getting into the property. They now also employ a full time game keeper who monitors the integrity of the fence as well as new and existing dwellers to the sanctuary and he can be seen most days scouring the boundaries

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