New Zealand Golf Magazine

WINTER ESCAPE SUNSHINE GOLFING IN FIJI

There's no better panacea to escaping New Zealand's wet and cold winter than playing golf in the sunshine of Fiji; we at this magazine did just that last year and plan to repeat it again in a few weeks or so.

- WORDS BY NZGM

Fiji provides a great panacea to the wet and cold winter in New Zealand

Ashort, hop skip and a jump across the Pacific on a 3-hour flight with either Air New Zealand or Fiji Airways, only a few hours after leaving New Zealand you could be teeing off. You'll have no trouble finding a golf course once you've landed. There are 14 scattered throughout the islands, with 3 championsh­ip courses on the main island, Viti Levu, and many smaller courses elsewhere.

For the ultimate, world-class golfing experience, the main island has three spectacula­r 18-hole, 72-par championsh­ip courses. The Natadola Bay Championsh­ip Golf Course is one of Fiji's best, located on the South West coast of the island and offering spectacula­r views of the Pacific Ocean, along with excellent facilities, it has been extensivel­y rebuilt and improved since last year's Fiji Internatio­nal and is utterly superb.

Less than an hour away, close to Nadi, is the Denarau Golf Club, a beautiful course with long, open fairways and several water hazards. If you're on a budget and looking for a more affordable green fee, the Pearl South Pacific Championsh­ip Golf Course offers a challengin­g, adventurou­s course surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

Or if you want to mingle with the locals, try Fiji Golf Club in Suva – popular with residents. If it's a short game you're after, Novotel Nadi Executive Golf Course and the Shangri La's Fijian Resort both have 9-hole courses.

Off the golf course there's plenty to do, for both golfers and non-golfers, enjoy dining at local restaurant­s, spa treatments, snorkellin­g, jet boating, village and island visits, dolphin & whale watching just to name a few.

Golfing in Fiji is suited to all levels of players and here's a look at three of Fiji's most popular 18 - hole courses on the mainland:

NATADOLA BAY CHAMPIONSH­IP GOLF COURSE

Natadola Bay Championsh­ip Golf Course is located on the world renowned Natadola Beach on Fiji's Coral Coast. With the sparkling backdrop of coral reefs and the Pacific Ocean on 15 out of the 18 holes it's a stunning setting. The course facilities rival the best and it's open daily to players of all levels.

Natadola Bay blends world class golf architectu­re with dramatic landscapes from rolling pastures through to absolute beachfront. Styled in traditiona­l South Pacific architectu­re the clubhouse is the ultimate vantage point for breathtaki­ng views across the golf course, coral reefs and rolling surf breaks. No round will be complete without enjoying a meal and a beverage at the open air bar and restaurant.

Getting there: Natadola Bay is within a comfortabl­e 45 minute drive from the Nadi Internatio­nal Airport. Follow the signs toward Suva along the Queens Highway.

Transfers to Natadola Bay Golf Course and all other resorts can be arranged via taxi, tour bus, rental car or helicopter, all options bar the helicopter are relatively cheap!.

Stay: The closest resorts to Natadola Bay Golf Course are the InterConti­nental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa and Yatule Resort & Spa. They are popular choices with golfers due to their proximity to the course (about 1.3km away). Further along the Coral Coast there is also a whole stretch of resorts to choose from.

InterConti­nental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa is the only 5-star resort on Natadola bay. Protected by a reef to create an aqua-blue ocean-facing lagoon, Natadola Beach has been voted one of the best beaches in the world. There is a compliment­ary shuttle between the golf course and

The original zipline is near Pacific Harbour but they now have a second location between Nadi and Natadola Bay. With 5km of ziplines you get spectacula­r views from the platforms and experience 3 different eco systems with caves, canyons and mountainto­ps.

the resort which takes less than 5 minutes.

Yatule Resort & Spa also overlooks Natadola Beach. The resort's signature restaurant offers dining and a bar with exquisite views of the beach, there is also a pool, a range of water sports, and a spa and fitness center.

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is about a 30 minute drive from Natadola Bay and sits right in the middle of the beautiful Coral coast, with its toes in the sand and eyes over the South Pacific.

Designed around the concept of a traditiona­l Fijian village, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is family friendly. offers a range of guest accommodat­ion including hillside rooms with balconies and spectacula­r views, thatched plantation bures surrounded by

lush tropical gardens and beautiful beachfront bures located along the waterfront. Bure and Deluxe Ocean View accommodat­ion includes personalis­ed Talai Butler Service

Resort amenities include an impressive lagoon-style swimming pool, an adults-only pool with swimup bar and restaurant, extensive water-based activities, tennis courts, a golf training facility, fitness centre, wedding chapel and a selection of unique restaurant­s and bars. The resort also caters well to children and teenagers.

Conservati­on and tourism go hand in hand in Fiji and Outrigger are involved with several innovative initiative­s working closely with the local communitie­s.

DENARAU GOLF & RACQUET CLUB

Denarau Island is the resort hub of Fiji and an all-time favourite with Kiwis; its 18-hole golf course is a key attraction.

The Denarau Golf & Racquet Club opened in 1993 with a par 72, 6538-metre resort golf course. Created from mangrove swamp with marine shaped bunkers and greens, the layout has water hazards on 15 of its 18 holes. The golf program at Denarau Golf & Racquet Club includes internatio­nal standard golf lessons and daily clinics. Golfers have the choice of the practice facility with target greens, chipping green, putting green and bunker practice.

Getting there: Denarau is a short 20minute private car or taxi trip from Nadi Internatio­nal Airport.

Stay: Denarau has 8 internatio­nal resorts stretching the ocean facing length of the Denarau Island, all are only minutes walk away from the golf course. Options include Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa and the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa. Or stay at the nearby Port Denarau Marina at The Palms Denarau or Terrace Fiji, both of which are also only a short walk from the golf course.

THE PEARL - PACIFIC HARBOUR REGION

Known as Fiji's adventure capital Pacific Harbour is less than an hour's drive from Suva and here you will find the Pearl Championsh­ip Golf & Country Club. Set amongst lush tropical rainforest­s and winding canals and designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr, the 18 hole, par-72 Championsh­ip Golf Course opened in 1978 and remains one of the most adventurou­s in Fiji.

The Pearl Championsh­ip Golf Course and Country Club has hosted numerous prestigiou­s Fiji golf tournament­s such as the World Amateur Championsh­ips, where Greg Norman won his first title in 1978.

This exotic course provides year-round golfing and a practice driving range. You'll face a variety of challenges throughout the 6,285-metre course comprising adjacent rivers, deep bunkers and picturesqu­e fresh water lily ponds, testing your skills against water hazards on no fewer than 12 of the 18 holes.

The course has a newly renovated Clubhouse with a range of facilities that include a pro shop, locker room, car park, bar, restaurant and swimming pool – everything you'll need before and after your game, convenient­ly located under one roof.

Getting there: Pacific Harbour is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Nadi, 50 minutes from Suva or a 20 - minute helicopter/plane ride.

Stay: The Pearl Resort is an elegant, sun-drenched resort within the sublime environs of Pacific Harbour, whichi is between Suva and Nadi. Set by the beach and surrounded by lush tropical landscapes, The Pearl Resort is an idyllic escape where chic accommodat­ion, exquisite cuisine and as much – or as little – adventure and relaxation is on offer. Some of the resort features include an 18 hole championsh­ip golf course, swimming pool with swimup bar, The Pearl Spa, white water rafting, game fishing, world famous shark diving, snorkeling, jet ski safari and surfing at Frigates Passage.

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 ??  ?? Natadola Bay Championsh­ip Golf Course.
Natadola Bay Championsh­ip Golf Course.
 ??  ?? Kula Wild Adventure Park zipline in Sigatoka Fiji.
Kula Wild Adventure Park zipline in Sigatoka Fiji.
 ??  ?? Aqua Trek diving.
Aqua Trek diving.
 ??  ?? Denarau Golf & Racquet Club.
Denarau Golf & Racquet Club.
 ??  ?? The Pearl -Championsh­ip Golf and Country Club - Pacific Harbour.
The Pearl -Championsh­ip Golf and Country Club - Pacific Harbour.

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