446 Clifton Road
Te Awanga Hawke’s Bay
The golf world is list-obsessed — Top 100 lists, mainly, though these are invariably stocked with private clubs that most golfers cannot play. Accordingly, in the spirit of inclusion (and practicality), behold the first in our list of “Top 10 Asia-Pacific Courses you* can play”: Cape Kidnappers GC in Hawkes Bay, on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
This Tom Doak design is a fitting first choice, as it’s a pure resort course, it totally kicks ass, and the joint just happens to be celebrating its 10 birthday this year
You may recognize Cape from the attached pictures. Its fabled fingers of fairway — dodging ravines on either side and skirting the property’s signature chalk-white cliffs — make it one of the most photographed tracks on earth. But the course itself rises well above the level of eye-candy, thanks to a canny design from Doak, the current It Boy of minimalist course architecture
“When you build a new links course, you have to compare it back to St. Andrews and Sandwich and Royal Birkdale and all the great links in the British Isles,” Doak explains (listen to a podcast from Doak and see videos of his favourite Cape holes here).
“Cape is not a links. In fact, there is nothing in the British Isles like Cape Kidnappers — nothing anywhere like Cape Kidnappers. That’s why it’s so cool.”
*Read: private memberships not necessary