Now that I've finally made it all the way down to the Southern-most 18 hole links in the World. I'll add my first hand comments to what I wrote in a previous post.
Previously I wrote, "Ever since John Huggan the sometimes scathing Scottish golf correspondent wrote about his experience down south, I’ve had playing the course in back of my mind."
Way back in May 2005 John wrote in the New Zealand Golf Magazine, "Oreti Sands was particularly enjoyable and incredibly good value for money. In fact, this remote and dramatic course has the potential to be that ever-elusive 'hidden gem' you read about in the glossy travel magazines. Such is the quality and variety of an endless stream of interesting and challenging holes. Go there soon; this is a great place to play golf."
Huggie reckoned it’s “one of the two best Kiwi courses he has played” and according to an update at the (now expired) club’s web site, it’s just got even better in recent years. Their excellent web site appears to have gone and is now part of the Southland golf network.
I also previously wrote, “Former top NZ Professional golfer, Greg Turner (now into golf course design) and his associate Scott Macpherson secured funding in 2006 to develop the course and work commenced on altering the layout in January 2007. Four spectacular new holes have been added, four have been removed and several others modified.
The new layout was officially opened for club members on 7th March 2009. On Monday 9th an exhibition match was played between Peter Senior & Peter O'Malley versus Peter Fowler & Mahal Pearce.”
Given that it was a glorious Friday morning in February the last thing I expected to find was that the course was deserted apart from a regular Friday morning threesome and one guy on the practice ground. And that was OK since I'd not get in anyone's way as I wandered the course taking photographs, especially of the "spectacular new holes".
Spectacular they are not be they do blend in very well with the existing course. The short 3rd called "Tuapuke" is a very testing tee shot but alas I couldn't get up high enough with my camera to depict the degree of difficulty.
A Kiwi friend has called it , "New Zealand's Carnoustie" and he's not far from wrong although the generous width of the fairways and absence of over-many bunkers make it less of a demanding test.
Was it worth it to go all the way down to the "Southern-most 18 hole links in the World"? You better believe it especially if you've never played a true-links course.