I finally have the pleasure of scribing a blog post today as we drive home from Kinloch golf course.¬† It is after 5pm here, more than 9 hours since we teed off this morning. There have been a few car dramas, which Jamie will kindly be sharing with us when we (finally) reach base camp.¬† He can write the blog whilst I take a long overdue shave‚?¶
Day 10 saw us taking on arguably the toughest golf course in New Zealand.¬† We were both pretty excited this morning prior to the round, and despite some pretty tough golf and a very long walk, we are still in extremely high spirits.¬† It is hard not to be after experiencing a course of that calibre and enjoying top quality hospitality. ¬†Kinloch is a links style course designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 2007. ¬†On our journey to date, we had been told not to play at Kinloch as it was simply too tough and not much fun. We had heard other less than complimentary things about the course prior to this year as well.¬† All this negativity was rubbish ‚?? after today we can both undeniably say that Kinloch is one of the best golf courses we have ever played.¬†
We played the course off the back tees which measured no less than 6700m and has quite a reputation for putting the amateur golfer in their place. Danny Lee (a pretty handy New Zealand pro golfer) has played the course a handful of times with a best round of 76‚?¶ Most holes required two strong shots to get on or around the green, and then the real fun started navigating the greens. ¬†Each hole was saturated with bunkering. And not just one or two large bunkers either, but an agglomeration around each green.¬† There were also a number of sheep stops (or more colloquially, ‚??walls of dirt‚??) which Jamie‚??s ball managed to kindly nestle behind a couple of times.¬† The entire course was in perfect nick, and compliments must go out to the green staff.¬† The layout felt like it was sculpted out of a rolling sheep farm, but we were told after the round that every single undulation (even those 20m off the fairway where we often were ball hunting) was carefully shaped when the course was built ‚?? it was not surprising then to hear of the $30m design cost.¬† From across the course there were stunning views across Lake Taupo (refreshingly unhindered by houses) and we will put few good snaps up on the gallery.¬† My very minor suggestions for Jack‚??s design would be to have a par 3 that is a bit shorter, all of the ‚??short‚?? holes are 170m at least, and for one or two of the par 5‚??s to actually have some element of ‚??risk and reward‚?? rather than being so damn long.
Our golf was a bit timid to begin and the first few holes really shattered any hope of us having a good score. In fact I did not manage a par the entire front nine, which was due to a combination of a difficult golf and the ongoing dysfunctional relationship with my putter.¬† Divorce (aka a great hurl into the lake) was very much on the cards after yet another 3 putt on hole 8, but then we sorted through our issues and the back nine (finally) saw a huge turnaround. Jamie hit the ball pretty well today as his rope hook subsided, but the course was relentlessly difficult and a minor mistake on any hole resulted in a bogey. ¬†We both finished with 88‚??s and for me a much needed morale boosting victory (2&1).¬† But the story of today is about the quality of Kinloch ‚?? a must do golfing experience in NZ that is very much worth the green fee.
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P.P.S Our launch is in 2 weeks at Terrace Downs, and if you are keen to join in the day please contact us this coming week.
P.P.P.S Our donation page for the First Tee NZ is up and going¬†here
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