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Tieke Golf Estate – New Zealand’s latest golf experience open for play

POSTED ON December 10, 2021 @ 7:52 am

Alongside the banks of the mighty Waikato River is New Zealand’s latest golf experience.

The new Tieke Golf Estate is now open for play. This truly unique championship course has been built using the natural river sand which is a real feature of the construction. It truly is a sandy riverbed masterpiece and there is nothing else like it in New Zealand.

What makes this incredible new golf course even more special is that it was developed by volunteers and is a member’s club which welcomes visitors to share what will undoubtedly be regarded as one of this country’s best golf experiences.

Established back in 1938, the old Lochiel Golf Club was a rural course maintained by sheep and keen volunteers. Fast forward 75 years to 2014 and two great Waikato Clubs, Lochiel and The Narrows, situated on either side of the river not more than a par five apart, agreed to join forces to become Riverside Golf Club.

Not long after it was designated by the NZ Transport Agency that a new expressway would pass right through the Narrows course. After significant and complex negotiations, the Club agreed to sell Narrows enabling the development of Tieke Golf Estate.

In 2018 Brett Thomson and Phil Tataurangi were approached to produce a new design.

Their ambitious design centered around a few main pillars:

  • The removal of 1000 old trees, shrubs, and bushes
  • An enhancement of the natural riverbed landscape
  • Exposing the sandy soils which had sat dormant beneath the turf for over 25,000 years
  • A routing with flexibility, adaptability and variability like no other in NZ

The fine fescue turf and creeping bent grass putting surfaces are also not often found in this part of the country. These surfaces complement the free draining soils and reward a running ball across the turf. The intention is for the ground game to be considered where a well-played “bump and run” shot will be equally rewarded as a skilfully played lofted wedge.  The style of golf akin to what’s played on a coastal links despite being more than 50 kms from the nearest beach. The visual appearance of the expansive sandy wastelands adds a striking and very distinct character to the course that is a nod to the whakapapa or history of the land.

Course designer Brett Thomson says “As a golf course architect I’m constantly looking for interesting and unique pieces of land upon which to play golf. Tieke is one of those pieces of land. It’s dramatic topography and sandy subgrade allowed us to make small, but significant design adjustments that we think will deliver a very distinct and dramatic golf experience”.

One of New Zealand’s favourite golfing sons and course designer Phil Tataurangi says “I’ve got plenty of fond memories of playing tournament golf on the old course back in the 80’s, so it was a privilege to come back and work with the Club to help shape their future. The bold riverbed landforms guided us towards an old school design with simple lines and symmetrical shapes. A similar feel to courses built during the golden age era of golf course architecture a century ago. Alongside our talented team it’s been a blast bringing the course back to life with a slightly different look for members and visitors alike.

Contemporary aesthetics

The brand-new clubhouse was designed by club member Adam Taylor of Industry Architects and provides expansive 270-degree views over the course. The contemporary aesthetic appears like a modern estate home with high ceilings, a spacious main lounge and comfortable furnishings.

The café and bar is open to all who enjoy delicious food and warm hospitality. The indoor/outdoor setting overlooking the 18th green is perfect for year-round dining. The extensive wine list and beverage offerings ensure this is the perfect spot to unwind and socialize after work or play.

Tieke Golf Estate provides coaching, training, custom club fitting, a fully stocked golf store with the highest quality apparel brands, clubs and golfing equipment plus great practice facilities.

The last few years have been a massive undertaking for the Riverside Golf Club. The coming together of two clubs into one, the sale of one course and the redesign of the other.

As Craig Meinsmith, Club President says “We set out to build something special for our members, our community and for all golfers. It’s turned out even more incredible than we ever imagined. I know our members are very proud of their new home and so they should be – it’s an amazing layout, club house and facilities. We are also proud of the name of our new course. After consultation with local Iwi leaders and looking deep into the history of the region, the name Tīeke was agreed. The Tīeke is the North Island Saddleback bird, once a friendly and plucky companion of Maui that populated the native bush land of the Waipa. With over 30,000 native plants now back in the ground and a greater ecological focus moving forward, the club have partnered with the Maungatautari Sanctuary Mountain, nearby to our south, to regenerate the Tīeke.”

Director of Golf, the well-known and respected Richard Ellis states, “Tieke Golf Estate is designed for players of all handicaps, the course designers have created a course like no other in New Zealand and it’s destined to be amongst the best in the country. Book a tee time and come have some fun on this unique new course just 90 minutes from Auckland.

For Further Information Contact:

Club President Craig Meinsmith Email: Phone : 021 760 977

Co course designer Phil Tataurangi Email: Phone:  027 287 0102

Director of Golf Richard Ellis Email:   Phone: 021 989 996

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