New Zealand Golf Club – former preserve of lords, viscounts and oh apparently Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (so I am reliably told by my male golfing friends who tell me the names of previous members are still up in the locker room!) – is beautiful, slightly quirky, but still a traditional golf course.
The old clubhouse still seems at first a bit like an ‘old boys club’, with the ladies changing area bolted on around the back: a genuine afterthought, as I suspect there was never any intention that ladies would play when this was first built.
However it is warm and friendly, and for me, I felt not one hint of ladies not being welcomed here. In fact the opposite. Smiling members and groundsmen stopped to chat and one member seemed really pleased and proud when he asked if I had enjoyed the round and I told him I had loved it.
And I did! From the first hole, off the reds where I made a splendid par (drive, rescue, chip, and putt) to then find out later it was actually a par 5 for the ladies. Ting! Bonus ! Birdie on the first hole was a good start and I would say pretty achievable for those who can avoid the heather.
The reds are really not that much further than the yellows, so the two par 4 fours (Holes 1 and 2) that are par 5’s for us ladies are gifts really. But the other par 4s are long – and only the biggest hitters likely to make most of the greens in regulation. As long as they avoid the heather.
There is only one par 5 on the course for the men and the distance is similar off the red tees – the 14th. It’s not much less than 476m so can be a par opportunity (if you don’t get in the heather like I did). One of my female team members eagled this, so if you are a big hitter like she is, go for it!
There are two very long par 3’s – 7th and 16th – so some ladies may find it could be 2 to get on the green.
To summarise, this course is not long overall but is very demanding in terms of accuracy. The fairways are not wide and lined with heather, and the carry on most of the holes means the heather is in play if you duff or don’t do your best drive!
However, it is absolutely beautiful. All the holes are different and memorable. A sign of a great course. And when you play on a glorious autumn day like we did it is golf at its best!
Mum, wife, businesswoman, and golfer… but not always in that order since I took up golf 4 years ago. Passionately hooked on a game I thought looked boring until I got the bug. Handicap 18 and falling, I think! Range junkie – can get through 100 balls in a session! – and I play as many times a week as my working life allows. Member at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club, one of the most beautiful courses in the UK (when I play well!). All our holidays are now golfing holidays. Biggest golfing regret – I went to University in St Andrews and never held a club!