Rydges Formosa Golf Resort – under new ownership and management – has been reborn 20-odd years after first finding fame.
The property was bought by the NZ Super Fund and Russell Property Group – the transaction announced just before the first Covid-19 lockdown. The 50 villas, as well as the restaurant and bar, underwent extensive renovations in the past year and the finished result is interiors with an understated, spacious luxury that matches the views.
Golf course revamp
The golf course itself is next up for a makeover. Fairways are a bit patchy still, but remedial work is underway, bunkers that had turned into rutted beds of clay and weeds are being refilled with sand, while other features such as the waterfall behind the 18th green are being upticked as well. The greens are already in fantastic condition and will only get better. But even in this half-dressed state, Formosa has real charm and it will shine once the work is finished.
It’s still squarely a resort-style course – motorised carts are the default setting, and why not if you’re having a bit of fun, but you can walk if you want. Some holes are tough for the once-in-a-while player. There are plenty of gullies and lakes that need to be hit over – notably the par-4 sixth hole which crosses a lake to angled fairway, and the signature par-3 seventh across a gully and uphill to a tremendous rollercoaster of a green. The set of holes towards the finish – 14 through 17 – will test the imagination and course management of the best players let alone someone on a boys’ day out.
Getaway with golf in focus
Regardless of playing ability, the underlying quality of the Bob Charles-designed course makes for a great day out. It’s testing but fun. It’s got great views. The greens alone are worth the price of admission, with Charles reportedly modelling them on the headache-inducing putting surfaces of August National, site of The Masters. For the less experienced player – just having a putt (or four) will provide plenty of entertainment or exacerbation depending on your disposition.
For now, golf remains the main attraction but the ongoing transformation of the resort will turn Formosa into a fantastic weekend getaway. The villas are spacious and top-class, the restaurant, Nineteen, serves great food that’s refined yet approachable and over-delivers on flavour. The pool, gym and tennis courts are being renovated and a spa is coming for those less-inclined to join their partner for a round of golf.
The resort is ideal for the full range of experiences – from weddings to conferences to family holidays and romantic getaways. The vibe is firmly Asia-Pacific thanks to the palm trees, the villas, the ocean views. On a balmy night, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in another country.
But the golf remains the allure. The long and short (like my irons on a typical day) is that a great golf course should fit snuggly into the land it lives on. It should be like a good friend, fun to be around and someone you want to see regularly because you enjoy their company. I’ve met a new friend.
source: nz herald