Redesigned fifth hole at Kauri Cliffs to open this month


Redesigned fifth hole at Kauri Cliffs to open this month
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Architect Rees Jones has redesigned the fifth hole at the Kauri Cliffs Golf Club on New Zealand’s North Island.

Kauri Cliffs’ owner Julian Robertson hired the architect has transformed the hole from a long, uphill, forced-carry par-three to a short ‘drop-shot’ par-three.

“Julian’s concern was the orientation of fifth and seventh holes, which had been quite similar in orientation and length," said Jones. "The thinking was, we wanted a shorter par-three, under 200 yards, that enhanced the entire, 18-hole golf experience, and that’s what we accomplished with the new no. 5.”

Previously the par-three hole played around 200 yards from the back tee and played slightly uphill across a canyon. Jones has moved the tee 90 degrees to the left, onto a hillside looking down on the same green complex. The hole now plays downhill to a putting surface half the size, perched on the edge of that same canyon.

Ground was broken this April and work was completed in May, with the new hole opening for play this month.

Jones has also added aback tee to the course’s second hole, eliminated and combined bunkers on the fourth hole, and added a forward tee on the ninth hole.

“If you look at the scorecard, all the par-threes were quite similar in yardage, even if they didn’t play at all the same,” said Kauri Cliffs head professional Jon Chapman. “The changes to no. 5 create more diversity, in addition to what is an entirely new hole. Rees Jones changed the front-nine dynamic completely. It’s going to be a phenomenal addition.”

“It’s pretty neat, because we built a drop-shot that is just 140 yards from the back tee,” Jones said. “Now we can put a different club in the player’s hands, and this new orientation provides long views of the cliffs and the ocean that weren’t there before, not till later in the round. Kauri Cliffs has such a tremendous range of golf holes, but it didn’t have that sort of hole. Now it does.”