Set beside Lake Pupuke on Auckland’s North Shore lies a charming course with a unique place in New Zealand golf history. Pupuke Golf Club, 16 kilometres from the Auckland CBD, is where Lydia Ko and Michael Hendry honed their games as teenagers. It’s little wonder the club prides itself as ‘The course that creates champions’.
Covered in gum trees with views of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island, the 103-year-old club is very picturesque. Measuring 5,453 metres from the back tees, Pupuke is not long by any stretch. However, the par-70 layout is a worthy test of golf.
Even though she eventually outgrew the course and relocated to Gulf Harbour Country Club, Pupuke is still very close to Ko’s heart. She first played the course at just five years of age. As a seven-year-old she shot 89 off the stick. At 18 she was awarded life membership of the club.
At 151m, the 17th is rated by Ko as one of her favourites in New Zealand. Five bunkers guard the front and left side of the angled green, while a steep bank punishes a wayward strike to the right. “It’s short but it’s always been challenging,” says the youngest player to be ranked No.1 in professional golf.