New Zealand’s newest golf course is open for business.The highly anticipated Tieke Golf Estate will welcome members from Wednesday, December 8.

Green fee guests and visitors will come online on December 27, while, unfortunately, Australians and the rest of the world will have to wait until NZ opens to visitors in April 2022.

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Still, that doesn’t stop us drooling over the latest golf offering in the land of the long white cloud, which over the years has given us Tara Iti (and its coming-soon-neighbour, the 36-hole Te Arai Links), Cape Kidnappers, Arrowtown GC, Jack’s Point, Kauri Cliffs, Kinloch and The Hills – to name a handful.

Tieke Golf Estate is the redesign of Lochiel Golf Club, which sat along the banks of the Waikato River, undertaken by former PGA Tour winner and NZ native, Phil Tataurangi, and Brett Thomson.

It’s a rustic, links-style layout located about a little less than a two-hour drive south of Auckland, and 20 minutes southeast of Hamilton.

Tataurangi says there isn’t another course in NZ quite like Tieke.

“The fescue turf and creeping bent grass greens are not common in this part of NZ,” Tataurangi tells Australian Golf Digest.

“These surfaces complement the free draining soils and encourage the ground game; running the ball up to the greens.

“The natural river sand is the centrepiece of Tieke’s construction.”

Tieke was also developed by volunteers and is a member’s club which encourages visitors. Based on the photos we’ve seen, it could become one of the finest courses in NZ.

Tieke was built over Lochiel GC, established in 1938, which was a rural course maintained by sheep and volunteers.

In 2014, two Waikato golf clubs, Lochiel and The Narrows, situated on either side of the river, merged to become Riverside Golf Club.

However, the NZ Transport Agency announced an expressway would pass right through the Narrows course.

After extensive negotiations, the club agreed to sell Narrows enabling the development of Tieke Golf Estate on the Lochiel site.

Thomson and 1996 Australian PGA Championship winner Tataurangi’s focussed on the removal of 1,000 old trees, shrubs, and bushes, an enhancement of the natural riverbed landscape, exposing the sandy soils which had sat dormant beneath the turf for more than 25,000 years and introduced a new routing.

We can’t wait to get over to NZ and play. Kia Ora.