The Coore and Crenshaw-designed South course at Te Arai Links in New Zealand has opened for public play.
Construction began in 2020 and the course opened for limited play in October 2022.
Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed the course with a traditional links style that routes over the dunes south of its sister course Tara Iti, designed by Tom Doak.
“Our course really does give the player that rare and lovely feeling that you are right there next to the sea – a little higher than the beach itself,” said Coore.
“We’ve always struggled when people ask, what’s the signature hole?” To us, that means one is so much better than the others. That question also requires that I be 100 per cent objective, and I can’t do that either. Not at Te Arai Links, in my own mind there aren’t two or three holes that are so much better than the others. There just aren’t.”
The course also takes advantage of its coastal location. “We invite the Monterey Peninsula comparison because we believe it’s apt,” said Jim Rohrstaff, a partner in Te Arai Links, who led the development with Tara Iti owner Ric Kayne. “Our good friend Mike Keiser believes the South course has as much ocean frontage as any golf course in the world.
“It’s that connectivity with the sea that distinguishes the South from most links experiences, from the golf experience in Monterey, even from Tara Iti just up the shoreline. On the South, the beach is just so close. There’s the visual sensation of actually seeing the waves crashing. But golfers can also hear them crashing – on more than half the holes.
“Bill and Ben did an incredible job of maximising this long stretch of shoreline. The connection with the sea is so intimate. Yet they did equally well creating a world-class golf course where people never feel kicked in the teeth, even in a two-club wind. Ultimately, the speed and firmness will prove the real test out there. Right now, it’s as playable and ‘gettable’ as it will ever be. Three years from now? Different story.”
Built alongside the South course is The Playground, a 2.5-acre putting green that wraps around a pizza barn and sits next to the South’s clubhouse and a practice facility that features six template greens modelled on classic courses from around the world.
“The Playground sets the tone at Te Arai Links,” said Rohrstaff. “It sits right in the middle of everything: the arrival area, the clubhouse and restaurants, the suites. It’s the kind of relaxed, welcoming, communal place you frankly don’t see at many golf resorts.”
The North course at Te Arai Links, designed by Tom Doak, is scheduled to open in October 2023.