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Golfing opportunities in the Hamilton & Waikato are as diverse as the region itself. With literally dozens of courses within close proximity, each offers a slightly different experience to the next, and thanks to the extensive network of towns, wherever you are based there will be several courses within an easy half hour’s drive.
Whether you’re a scratch golfer or on a handicap of twenty-eight the region offers a course to suit. There are leisurely scenic seaside courses in places such as Raglan and Kawhia, and those with spectacular mountain backdrops in places such as Te Aroha.
Many rural township courses such as Waitomo, Putaruru and Hukanui (and others) are frequently referred to as ‘hidden gems’ and offer relaxed rounds and varied terrain. Off-the-beaten track courses include Te Kowhai and Pirongia, or head to Piopio, where an experience of the farming lifestyle is thrown in for free, with sheep grazing to maintain the fairways.
Those looking for something at the other end of the scale can try Ngaruawahia or St Andrews where the prestigious Brian Perry Classic takes place each year. These courses have well established reputations and frequently feature on the national circuit.
With the mighty Waikato River running through much of the region you’ll also find a great selection of riverside courses as well. There’s Huntly and Ngaruawahia at the northern end, with many others such as the region’s oldest club, Cambridge, and the new 36 hole Riverside (which now combines former stand-alone clubs Lochiel and The Narrows), along the way.
With so many courses on offer you may want to base yourself in the region for a couple of days. Popular locations include Hamilton, where there is a wide range of accommodation, eateries and things to do after the game, or one of the rural townships such as Cambridge or Matamata - each have their own local flavour and an excellent choice of amenities.
Author Tom Hyde listed the following Waikato golf course holes in the country’s top 100:
• 18th at St Andrews
• 4th at Cambridge
• 1st at Horsham Downs
• 18th at The Narrows (now part of Riverside)
• 6th at Waitomo
For a list of all clubs please visit the Waikato Golf website or for more information on where to stay and other activities to complement your golfing holiday in the Hamilton & Waikato Region, please visit www.hamiltonwaikato.com.