IF Scotland is the home of golf then New Zealand might lay claim to being its weekender. Only Scotland has more golf courses per capita than the “Land of the Long White Cloud”, more than 480,000 of the country's 4 million natives playing at least some golf each year.
According to the game's governing body, New Zealand Golf, more than 125,000 Kiwis are members of clubs at the country's 393 courses.
So it comes as no surprise that among that number are some genuinely world class layouts; and they can be found in every corner of both the North and South Islands.
Flying in to either Auckland or Christchurch, the difficulty for the traveling golfer becomes not where to play but what to leave off the list.
If time is tight options abound close to both major centres, but if a more leisurely itinerary can be organised the delights of golf across the Tasman can be enjoyed to the fullest.
The North Island is home to perhaps the two most famous modern courses in the country in Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers, both world class resorts in every sense of the word - including golf.
Both are a good distance from Auckland, Kauri Cliffs a three-hour drive and Cape Kidnappers closer to five, but both worth the effort for those with the time.
It would be hard to imagine two more spectacular sites for golf, both boasting seaside and cliff top golf at its finest.
Cape Kidnappers just gets the nod in terms of spectacular, several of its holes built on fingers of land jutting out into the water and providing perhaps the most spectacular aerial photograph of any golf course in the world.
Closer to to Auckland the Titarangi Golf Club is one of the country's most revered, laid out with the help of legendary course architect Alister Mackenzie during a 1927 visit to New Zealand.
Restored during the mid 1990's using the famous architect's own drawings, Titarangi offers one of the country's best golf experiences.
Also within easy reach of Auckland is Muirwai Golf Club, it's links style layout setting it apart from other courses in the region.
With views of the Tasman Sea from every hole, golfers could easily be forgiven for thinking they are playing in Scotland, the wind whipping across the course adding a further element of challenge.
For those flying into Christchurch on the South Island there is no shortage of top notch golf to be experienced, several stunning layouts lying within easy reach of the city.
Starting with the Clearwater course, home of the New Zealand Open, golfers can easily fill out several days play without ever traveling more than an hour from the CBD.
From the beautiful Christchurch Golf Club, where the legendary Bob Charles is patron, to the stunning Terrace Downs in the east, the South Island capital is a golfing playground.
Pegasus Golf and Sports Club, opened in 2009, sits less than 30minutes from the CBD and is the newest of the area's courses.
For the traveller with a little more time to spare a trip to Queenstown will pay big dividends with some of the most spectacular golf in the world to be found on the south end of the Island.
Millbrook, The Hills and Jack's point have been showered with accolades by all who visit them, Jack's Point believed by many to have the most beautiful backdrop of any course in the land.
The stunning Remarkables mountain range can be seen from all points of the course and the breathtaking views are just one reason the course is consistently rated in New Zealand's top 10.
With almost 400 courses to choose from and one of the most beautiful landscapes of any nation on earth, New Zealand is the perfect choice for a golf holiday.
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