Early morning at the Royal Wellington Golf Club. © Graeme Murray

Royal Wellington Golf Club

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Set on an ancient river bed in beautiful parklands with dominant native bush, the gentle contoured fairways of the Royal Wellington Golf Course are laced together by streams and lakes. 

The course weaves its way over crumpled ground through thousands of mature native and exotic trees. Birdlife is abundant. Situated next to the Hutt River, water in the form of several creeks and a large lake are all in play and present a true challenge for the adventurers and the unwary. 

Located 40 minutes from Wellington, this is one of the finest club courses in New Zealand.

The club was founded in 1895, originally on a site on the Miramar Peninsula, but moved to its current location over 100 years ago. It has hosted seven NZ Open Championships since 1912 and in 2004, became the first golf club in the country to receive royal status, bestowed by the Duke of York. This was especially significant, as Royal Wellington was the only course added to the prestigious list during the 250th anniversary of the R&A.  Currently, there are just 65 clubs with royal status around the world.  

Designers Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson were tasked with a re-design a few years ago and they have succeeded in their desire to create one of New Zealand’s finest courses. The course contains many distinctive holes, including the par 5, 4th, the signature hole, which exemplifies the Turner MacPherson approach. From the tee, the fairway splits in two on either side of a stream. Over the stream and past a strategically placed bunker, the fairway cambers towards a lake and narrows dramatically as it gets closer to the green. The sloping narrow green sits behind the lake, nearly at right angles to the line of play, making hitting the green with a long approach tricky. This hole is probably the best example on the entire course for demonstrating how the new layout can be played by golfers of all levels.

The par 72 course has four sets of tees that range from 5,123 – 6,601 metres. The Royal Wellington is best enjoyed on foot, but push carts and golf carts are also available.

As a testament to the calibre of the course, it recently hosted the 2017 Asia Pacific Amateur, an event funded by Augusta National (home of The Masters) and the R&A to grow the game of golf in the Asia Pacific region.  

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