Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs are like few other courses in the world. Remarkably similar, yet with some distinct differences, it's not surprising that the country's two highest ranked courses are inside the Top 50 in the world, ranked 16th and 49th respectively.
Robertson, the person behind these two luxury courses, is an American billionaire that has developed a genuine love affair for the country. Originally, he acquired a 4,000 acre farm in 1995 which was later developed into Kauri Cliffs. Next came Cape Kidnappers, which was purchased in 2001.
New Zealand has no shortage of golf courses with one of the highest golf courses per capita rates in the world, which meant Robertson needed to stand out from the crowd. This opportunity he truly took with two hands and in the process created two courses which pose challenges like nowhere else in the world.
Cape Kidnappers is the 16th ranked course in the world and in the words of the course designer, Tom Doak "Three times, you'll have to make the perilous leap from the end of one ridge to the end of the next. And at the sixth and fifteenth holes it's possible to pull your approach off the very end of the earth, though it will take nearly ten seconds of hang time for your ball to reach the ocean below".
Beginning on the front nine, get ready to be treated to natural scenic farmland which heads directly towards a range of cliff tops - some measuring up to 150 metres with a direct vertical drop to the oceanfront. Such landscapes creates some of the most breathtaking views of any course in the world and are so incredible that they could easily stand alone as a tourist attraction (golf course aside).
The course fortunately hosts relatively wide fairways, whilst simultaneously providing the true rewards for those that like to flirt with danger off the tee. The greens are also hugely undulating, with a range of deep bunkers which creates another challenge in itself.
All aspects of this championship course have been designed to envelop the unique coastline of the area. To this extent, fifteen of the eighteen holes host magnificent ocean views, with six of these also running adjacent to high cliff faces. The course is situated in New Zealand's famous 'Bay of Islands' region and is a little under one hour flight from Auckland (or three hours drive). However, such is the way with this part of New Zealand, you will truly feel like you're in your own little part of the world, whilst on the course.
Kauri Cliffs opened six years after the property was purchased in 2001 and since then has consistently been ranked among the world's very best. David Harman, the designer of the course, set out to accommodate golfers of all abilities with a range of different box tees. In saying this, the further back tees definitely provide the most stimulating round with a diverse range of ball paths required to stay on the fairway. Much like Cape Kidnappers, this becomes incredibly difficult the second the wind picks up, so if you're planning a round, make sure you check the weather.
Like all good championship courses, Kauri Cliffs requires a great level of attention but can be incredibly rewarding for accurate play.