Takaka Golf Club
Located on our way to the Abel Tasman National Park, Takaka Golf Club is a 9-hole golf course that is a long way from, well, most anything. Situated directly at Tasman Sea, we arrived at Takaka to the smell of the ocean, plenty of sea gulls, and an empty parking lot.
Measuring 2930-yards, Takaka Golf Club is one of only 9 true links golf courses of New Zealand. We slid our 20 NZD for all day golf into the honesty box (11,90 Euro, 13.26 USD), and eagerly made our way to the first tee!
With cloudy skies but some hopeful blue patches above, the wind was mild all morning. That is, until we stood on the first tee! True links golf in the wind all to ourselves- could this be real?!
Hump, the straight 413-yard par 4 second was our favourite hole on the golf course. With the beach and ocean to your right, you won’t find a better view in all of golf! The fairway has a mound that lends its name to the hole and runs perpendicular to the ocean. It also can cause your approach shot into the green to be blind.
Menekse bravely approached Hump from the ocean side, while I approached it from the more conservative, yet less scenic left side. With onshore winds that highly influenced the hole, we walked off happy with our scores.
At 136-yards, Hollow, the par 3 third hole isn’t the longest par 3 on the course but was easily the most beautiful. With the onshore wind continuing to blow, we both were left of the green but safely dry.
Just short of the greenside bunker on her tee shot, Menekse almost chipped in for birdie! I was quite left off the tee and was forced to negotiate some pines trees that laid between me and my target. Safely on, but a long of the cup, my bogey lost 3 strokes to her net one!
Golf Lunch and Golf, Just Like Muirfield
Satisfied and hungry after 9 holes, we went back to Lorna, our campervan, to have a lite lunch. After finishing our sandwiches, Menekse decided to take the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and to finish her book. But I couldn’t get enough of the oceanside holes and wanted another chance to play them again.
So, just like what we hope to do at Muirfield one day, I went back out after lunch ready to tackle these true links one more time. The only difference was the missing tie!
Dunes is the 292-yard par 4 fourth hole at Takaka Golf Club that also hugs the coast. A slight dogleg left finishes to a large narrow undulating green that has a lot of movement. I played Dunes 3 times, but never saw the fairway once!
We never did quite figure out how to play Cherry Island, the 384-yard par 4 fifth hole. With a large pine tree growing almost directly in the middle of the fairway, the ocean right, and more pine trees left, we were forced to hit iron off the tee. While not fans of holes that don’t offer multiple ways to play, we will admit that the view out to the sea was beautiful!
We also really liked Reclamation, the no-frills straightaway eighth hole. With pine trees lining the left side of the fairway and a narrow creek that boarders the right, the 530-yard par 5 returns you to the clubhouse. The uphill sloped green acts as a backstop, so just ensure to take a little more wedge to take advantage.
I played the holes a couple times each and learned nothing from the first round but enjoyed them just the same!
The Absolute Right Decision
After playing Hump and Hallow one final time, I made my way back to our campervan. We took a long walk on the deserted beach of Golden Bay. With blue skies above, we finished the evening with dinner that we prepared and ate on the clubhouse terrace.
Finally, after being mesmerized by a star-filled night sky while sipping our chai tea, we fell asleep to the sounds of the gentle surf and some gulls in the distance.
It is places like Takaka Golf Club that make us realize that Puttering around the World was absolutely the right decision for us! We are becoming true golfabonds!!
Made for television, made better by Dave
The following morning, we made our coffee and returned to the clubhouse terrace and enjoyed our breakfast and the sunshine that the new day brought. As we were preparing to continue our journey, we had the pleasure of meeting Dave, the keeper of the greens. We shared our admiration of the golf course, and he told us a little about the history of the course.
In an effort to make the golf course look more like those that they saw on TV in the early 80’s from the US, Dave told us that the club planted many trees. He has now spent a greater part of the last 10 years removing them! He still has some work in front of him, but his labour to restore the course back to the true links golf course is noticeable!
With the sand-based soil visible in some patches and greens of inconsistent speeds, the golf course was rough in some areas. But Takaka Golf Club was a true joy to play! And it is evident that she is loved by all who make the effort to get here!