First Peek: Te Arai Links (North)

The second half of this New Zealand resort should finally get you to fly across the Pacific

Tom Doak’s track record in New Zealand already includes two layouts, Cape Kidnappers (opened in 2004) and Tara Iti (2015), that have become fixtures on World Top 100 lists—the latter soaring as high as the second-best course outside of America, according to Golf Digest.

On October 1, 2023, Doak’s North Course at Te Arai Links debuts 90 minutes north of Auckland (on the same shoreline just south of sister property Tara Iti), joining the Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw-designed South Course that opened in October 2022.

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Te Arai North (photo by Ricky Robinson)

The South wows with its surplus of ocean splendor—eight holes are directly along the sea and 16 boast ocean views. While the North also incorporates the ocean—including a drivable, 311-yard par-four opener and a coastal par-five closer—it captivates more with its inland stretches, vibrant green pathways spilling over a tumbling, sandy topography that Doak compares to Pine Valley. Some holes along the 6,931-yard par-71 routing climb a ridge that neighbors an ancient hill fortress (“Ma-ori Pa”); others are carved into cavernous bowls surrounded by tall pine trees.

“It is odd having to apologize for a golf course that ‘only’ features the ocean for seven of the 18 holes,” says Doak, “but that is how spoiled golfers have become by the best of New Zealand’s modern golf courses. The North Course promises to be near the head of the class.”

All 36 holes are walking-only and open year-round, with North and South alternating daily between public and private. Complementing the courses are a 2.5-acre putting green, ocean- and golf-view restaurants, and luxe accommodations including suites, two-bedroom cottages, and four-bedroom villas.

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Te Arai North, 17th hole (photo by Ricky Robinson)

Thank you for supporting our journalism. If you prefer to read in print, you can also find this article in the Fall 2023 issue of LINKS Magazine. Click here for more information.