Tara Iti Review

Golf course

Tara Iti borders one of New Zealand’s most pristine beaches, only 90 minutes north of Auckland. This spectacular course blends seamlessly into the native surrounds, a green fescue carpet laid over undulating sand dunes and native vegetation.

Where is Tara Iti?

Tara Iti is located 90 minutes north of Auckland, near Mangawhai Heads. The location is secret and vehicle directions are blocked from google maps. I have a personal connection with Mangawhai Heads, it’s the location of our family Bach and the local Golf course is where I learnt my trade as an ever consistent – mid-teen handicapper.

To get to the course you drive down a modest gravel road and the gates to the property could be that of any farm in the surrounding district – this really sets the tone for the general ambience, it can be compared to being invited over to someone’s house for a BBQ. When you arrive you are greeted casually with a smile and feel very welcome – not like some of the private members clubs you may play overseas. A very Kiwi feel.

The buildings are all built to blend into nature and the architects have done an amazing job to maintain the natural beauty of the area. The facilities are beautiful and pro-shop is well catered with Tara Iti branded clothing, I picked up a shirt and a hat at a very good price.

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Tara Iti Golf Course

As I shank my first practise drive along the ground, my caddie reminded me that the last person she had looked after was Lydia Ko, so no pressure there. Tara Iti is a caddy only, or Caddie share a round of golf, they are all very knowledgeable and often spend the winter at the big European courses. They watch you practise and offer pointers – which I have still incorporated to this day. 

The course itself is very unique, it weaves its way seamlessly through sand dunes and if you wanted to, you could putt every shot. As with most of Dye’s courses, it is a playable, enjoyable Golf course. Not too long, and if you missed the fairway you’d find yourself in hard playable sand.

Tom Doak has rated this course as his finest to date. Whilst every hole offers something unique to the last. The sixth hole stands out as it runs along the gorgeous coastline, it is the most demanding and if the wind is kind to you, you’ll find the narrow fairway. The second is a long iron to a raised, undulating green, surrounded by a bumpy sand dune. The 17th is the signature hole, similar to the 17th at Sawgrass, except rather than being surrounded by water, you guessed it, sand is the common denominator. The 18th at Tara iti is a fan favourite, a salacious gettable par 5, hitting back towards the clubhouse. The long hitters will bring the tiered green into play, which stays hidden behind the contours of the fairway.

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