The South Pacific is warm, tropical, and a much-loved vacation destination for people of all ages. But what about those holidaymakers who want to partake in a couple of rounds of golf while in their tropical paradise?
If sun, sand, and sea are your kind of thing, you’ll be pleased to know that you can swing your clubs on multiple stunning golf courses in the area. But how many truly golf-worthy destinations are there in the South Pacific?
If you’re planning on visiting one of the islands for your holiday, you can choose from a few spectacular golfing destinations. However, the lesser-known islands may place you far from golf courses, so choose carefully!
Here’s all you need to know about golf-worthy destinations in the South Pacific. If you’re specifically planning on a golfing holiday, these South Pacific golfing destinations are the places where you’ll find some excellent birding opportunities.
Golf or no golf, New Zealand is one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful places on the planet. The landscape is almost otherworldly, and to delight golfers, they’ve managed to build almost 400 wonderful golf courses weaving through some of their most amazing scenery.
Some of the top courses in the country are open to the public, although it’s wise to call and book in advance to avoid disappointment. Travellers most often land at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown before heading off to their preferred golf course location. Depending on where you are, there are several golf courses one can go to. The Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is less than an hour’s drive from Wellington and attracts a host of first-timers as well as repeat golfers. The course is wildly beautiful, the fresh ocean breeze is invigorating and it’s very easy to imagine why The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) was shot here. A word to the wise: Book at least a week in advance, because of the above reasons.
The Kauri Cliffs Golf Club, just half an hour away from Auckland, is a par-72 championship-level golf course. Besides enviable greens designed by David Harman, it boasts infinite stretches of ocean views and is attached to a luxury boutique hotel. Giving it stiff competition is the Titirangi Golf Club, New Zealand’s only golf course designed by Alister MacKenzie. Then there are Arrowtown Golf Club and Jack’s Point Golf Course near Queenstown, both equally tantalising and unique. Upping the picturesque game is the Cape Kidnappers Golf Course near Napier. That’s back up in New Zealand’s North Island, and it’s a great self-drive experience, believe us.
Pretty much every single golf course you can find here has majestic views and challenging gameplay. If you’re around for a little while, it’s well worth playing a round at a few different courses! Of course, in between rounds, you can also spot more stunning views and some NZ wildlife by taking a hike, going for a bit on a bike, camping, backpacking, or enjoying the local cuisine.
Fiji is known to be another paradise, loved for its spectacular coral, sleek white beaches, and crystal-clear oceans. It’s also renowned for its Pacific Rim cuisine and drinks, especially kava. If white sandy beaches, sultry weather, and absolute relaxation is your idea of a great vacation, Fiji may already be on your radar. You’ll be pleased to know that there are also 6 full 18-hole golf courses for you to spend some time on when you need a break from the water.
The Natadola Bay Golf Course has been designed and renovated by renowned golf architects Greg Letsche and Vijay Singh. It’s a par 72 championship standard golf course, with deceptively hard sections and equally breathtaking visuals. Surrounding this gem of a golf course are five-star beach resorts like the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa and the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. On a couple’s getaway? Check out the four-star boutique Yatule Beach Resort & Spa next door.
Then, there is the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club. Set on an island connected to the Fijian mainland by a causeway, Denarau was purpose-built to accommodate a superb golf course and five-star resorts. So, the 18-hole par 72 Denarau Golf and Racquet Club is surrounded by names like the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island, Hilton Fiji Resort & Spa, Sofitel Fiji Resort, Sheraton Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, and more. It’s a luxury resort complex, basically. And while you’re there, it won’t be a half-bad idea to check out the beautiful Denarau Marina – there are daily catamaran cruises and private yacht charters heading into the picture-perfect Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands.
Other courses that are worth a play and that are open to the public include the Pearl South Pacific Fiji Resort, the Naviti Resort, the Nadi Airport Golf Club, and the Fiji Golf Club. If you just want to get in a quick 9-hole game, you can check out Shangri-La Fijian Resort or Toberua Island Resort. Plenty of choices for beginners to mid-handicappers!
However, if you want absolute, inimitable luxury… there’s just one name in the South Pacific. The COMO Laucala Island. This boutique, super-luxury island has passed through many well-known hands. First in the hands of the Forbes family, then taken over and given shape as a resort by Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz and now Singapore’s COMO Hotel Group, this getaway turns everything up to 11. The golf course has been designed by David McLay Kidd and boasts of world-class views (you’re surrounded by forests, tended greens, the Pacific Ocean, and an honest-to-god volcano!) as well as wetlands, fairways and undulating holes. Amongst the plus points is that you’ll often be teeing off with Hollywood A-listers, supermodels, and billionaires. And we haven’t even talked about the resort. The price tag for the above? Roughly US$10,000 a night.
Samoa has two 18-hole golf courses—Royal Samoa Country Club and Faleata Golf Course—and one 9-hole golf course—Penina Golf Club—for your playing pleasure. All of them are open to the public. It’s also a fantastic diving location, a great place to surf, and a fascinating cultural haven that’s an unforgettable experience. Forest scenery, lava fields, beautiful beaches, and warm seas make it a traveller’s paradise, and the golf is really just a bonus.
Vanuatu may be a lesser-known destination, but it’s every bit as interesting as others. It’s a lovely little tropical spot that has plenty of cultures and fascinating traditional music.
You’ll be pleased to know that it’s also home to two 18-hole golf courses, Port Vila Golf & Country Club and White Sands Country Club. You’ll also find a 12-hole layout at Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa and a 9-hole course at Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu in Port Vila.
This pretty South Pacific Island nation lies approximately two hours flight time from Brisbane, Australia. Although small, it has four 18-hole courses, boasting varied and intriguing views. The most central and easily accessible course will be the Tina Golf Club, which is barely a kilometre from the international airport at Noumea. It has hosted quite a few international golf tournaments and is quite the favourite.
But giving the TGC stiff competition is the Golf de Déva. It’s set quite further inland, around a two-hour car ride from the airport, but comes with a drop-dead gorgeous five-star beachside resort attached to the golf course. Designed by Cynthia Dye McGarey and Luke Dye, the golf course has quickly set a dual reputation as strenuously difficult and comfortably relaxing, depending on the golfer’s choice of starting tees. Then, the Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort leaves no stone unturned when it comes to pampering travellers. All in all, quite an unbeatable combination, really.
How many truly golf-worthy destinations are there in the South Pacific? Well, ultimately it depends on what you consider to be an exciting golfing experience, but there’s good golf to be played at all of the bigger, most well-known islands. If you’re heading to the South Pacific for a vacation any time soon and want to enjoy some relaxed golf with spectacular views, you can certainly find a spot to swing your clubs.
While the golf clubs in the smaller island areas may not be the most technically challenging or have state-of-the-art training aids, they’re lovely places to spend a few hours when you want a break from the beach. You can even check out some South Pacific golfing holiday deals, while you’re at it.
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer who’s been lucky enough to play on beautiful courses across the world. When he’s not mentoring young golfers, he’s researching and writing articles for his website, Golf Influence.
Travellers, we bring great tidings of hassle-free holiday – Fiji has relaxed its entry requirements…
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