Golf holidays rank right up there with making three straight birdies or saving par at the last to shoot a best-ever score for sheer thrill factor. Who doesn’t like the idea of getting away from work, seeing somewhere new and playing top-notch golf as an integral part of the picture?
The good news is: someone is prepared to do all the organising for you. Several people, in fact. Golf tour operators are a big deal and in time-poor 21st century life, having someone to do the legwork for you – and sniff out a bargain or two – only adds to the appeal of a golf getaway. Golf tour operators in New Zealand might work out of one corner of world, but their knowledge and experience spreads across the globe. But which one to choose for you next golf trip? Here are five that caught our eye.
Be Part Of Team NZ
Premium Golf NZ (PGNZ) is an established golf travel company offering a selection of premium luxury tours for international golf visitors to New Zealand, and guided tours around the world for New Zealand golfers.
A member of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) and the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand, PGNZ is also the official New Zealand partner for the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC). The PGNZ team is made up of experienced golf and travel professionals who understand the needs and desires of their golf travelling clients and work hard to design and deliver professionally run golf tours and itineraries.
The company offers traditional bucket list tours to the Open Championship and Masters while also providing unique guided tours to exciting golf destinations in Australia (Melbourne and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast), Asia (Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan) and South America (Argentina, Chile and Brazil).
PGNZ arranges all travel, including flights, accommodation, green fees and tee-times, and all sightseeing activities that are built into the tours. PGNZ also caters for non-golf travelling partners and works with clients if they wish to create bespoke or customised packages.
PGNZ organises and runs the New Zealand qualifying and national final for the WAGC, the world’s most prestigious tournament for amateur golfers who compete to have the opportunity to represent their country against players of similar skill levels. In this tournament format, five handicap division winners, who have won the right to represent their country and travel to the world finals, will compete individually and as a team. On debut this year in Malaysia’s Johor Bahru, the PGNZ-led New Zealand team had unprecedented success with Division 1 and 2 winners and a runner-up in Division 3.
The WAGC also runs an invitational tournament at the same time, allowing New Zealand golf travelers to experience and be part of the prestigious four-day tournament.
Find out more: www.premiumgolf.co.nz
If the high-profile resorts of Queenstown and surrounds are not to your liking (or you’ve played them before), then Moore Golf Tours offers an appealing point of difference while showcasing the best of Central Otago. Moore Golf Tours is based in Cromwell, so remains close to Queenstown yet away from the hustle and bustle, and takes care of all golf, accommodation and transfers.
The five ‘club-style’ courses on the tour – Cromwell, Queenstown, Arrowtown, Wanaka and Alexandra – offer great variety, and are all within an hour’s drive. The Hills, Jack’s Point and Millbrook remain additional options for golfers looking for the full gamut.
Run by Cromwell PGA professional Willie Moore, golfers taking this tour also enjoy the benefit of Moore’s coaching. “So our clients get to enjoy all that Central Otago brings in a relaxed setting,” Moore says.
Find out more: www.mooregolf.co.nz/golf-tours
The World Awaits
World Journeys is a boutique travel company based in Auckland, specialising in tailor-made travel to some of the world’s most exciting destinations. The company’s team of travel designers are all passionate travellers and are able to offer personal recommendations based on their own experiences and wealth of expert knowledge.
Africa is one of World Journeys’ most popular destinations, with luxury safari experiences top of the ‘bucket list’ for many discerning travellers. The Rovos Rail Golf Safari combines the indulgence of a luxury rail journey with the thrills of wildlife safaris and the opportunity to play golf at South Africa’s renowned world-class courses.
Golfers will delight in playing at Sun City’s Gary Player course, Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensburg Mountains, Durban Country Club, Swaziland’s Royal Swazi and Leopard Creek, which adjoins Kruger National Park. Non-golfers can enjoy optional sightseeing and safari activities, while World Journeys includes boutique accommodation in Pretoria for the night before the rail journey, plus three nights in Cape Town at the end to allow time to explore the sophisticated city at leisure. For travellers wanting to make the most of their African adventure, World Journeys is happy to add on further travels in South Africa, or neighbouring Botswana and Namibia, each of which offer their own unique experiences.
Far from selling ‘off-the-shelf packages’, World Journeys’ tailor-made approach allows the company to design an itinerary around their clients’ specific desires, style of travel and budget.
Find out more: www.worldjourneys.co.nz
Nine Is Fine
Not every golf tour needs to be about 18-hole rounds or even maximising the amount of golf on the itinerary. Sometimes nine holes is plenty.
“It was like a lightbulb was flashing at me!” agrees pro golfer and coach Kaye Maxwell, owner of www.9holegolftours.nz. “I saw there was a real opening to do nine-hole golf tours and I got so excited. I have been teaching for more than 20 years and have my own golf retreat and nine-hole golf course in the Bombay Hills, 30 minutes south of Auckland. I love hosting events and helping people to get their games stronger with good old-fashioned basics. I want people to have fun with golf and have time to explore the areas that we visit.”
It’s a novel take on the golf touring concept – but is not limited to visiting one destination. So aside from Maxwell’s Bombay, 9holegolftours.nz will also take in Taupo, Queenstown, Fiji and Queensland in 2019.
Find out more: www.9holegolftours.nz
For the past 19 years, Charlie’s Golf Tours has delivered superbly organised, fun and great value golf holiday experiences. Charlie’s take care of everything so golfers can enjoy a hassle-free holiday and play spectacular courses.
“One of our differences from others is that we stay in towns or cities, not golf resorts,” says director Peter Cox. “This allows you to get out and about after golf to see and feel a bit more of the country, rather than being confined to a resort without transport, miles away from anywhere. We think you should experience something of the country you are travelling in, as well as enjoying the golf.
“We also pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive range of golf tours throughout the year – no one else in New Zealand offers as many varied tours as we do.”
Where would you prefer to holiday in mid-2019 – North America, Africa or Europe? Charlies will conduct a Spain and Portugal golf tour in May, a Kenya golf tour and a Canadian Rockies golf tour in June. And, savings of up to $1,000 per couple are available on these tours by registering before the end of 2018.
“Spain had always suffered from the ‘Brits abroad’ image with me until we went on this tour,” Cox says. “Spain has the history, buildings and character to astound you – Ronda is a classic example of this. Add Portugal’s stunning coastlines and history and the overall golf package, and the tour becomes a ‘must do’. Once in Europe, take the opportunity to extend your stay – and this can be done without huge cost. You can lease a car for three weeks at a very reasonable rate and drive around staying at guesthouses, getting a real flavour of the country you are in. Airbnb also gives you the chance to stay in one place for a time at a reasonable cost.
“I have said on more than one occasion that the Canadian Rockies tour is my current favourite. The spectacular scenery and magnificent golf courses are a joy to behold and the atmosphere in every city and town is vibrant. Sharing the golf courses with black and grizzly bears was also an experience! While you are up in this neck of the woods, it is very worthwhile to add a seven-day Alaska cruise onto the end of the tour. The wildlife and sea life is amazing, and the glaciers are awesome.
“Or why not visit Kenya, the original Safari destination, offering unforgettable opportunities to see the Big 5 in their natural habits? This ex-British colony has some great golf courses, many left over from Britain’s influence and occupation. You will safari in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro and relax at the shores of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa before heading home.”
Find out more: www.charliesgolftours.co.nz