-The Tom Doak Designed Tara Iti GC Opens This October-
Jaw dropping is about the best way to describe the new Tara Iti Golf Club that has emerged on the North Island of New Zealand. The Tom Doak designed course is part of the 1,400-acre beachfront Te Arai development situated just over an hour from Auckland’s business district.
The course is expected to be available for member play this October.
Doak was given a magnificent landscape to work with for his design. He was able to lay out the course amid the dunes north of Te Arai Point, a favored headland among Northland surfers. Otherwise, this stretch of beach — some 11 kilometers in length, spreading north from a surf break known as “The Forestry” — remains largely undiscovered, despite its location less than 100 km from the Auckland Harbor Bridge.
Tom Doak’s course design at Tara Iti Golf Club differs from his only previous work in New Zealand, Cape Kidnappers GC in Hawkes Bay, where the soil is not sand-based and cliff-side golf holes sit hundreds of feet above the surf. Tara Iti GC instead occupies the sandy dunescape along the beach itself. While this “links land” environment is rare (and prized across the golfing world), Doak has worked there before: at Pacific Dunes in Bandon, Oregon, USA; at Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania, Australia; at Sebonack GC on Long Island, just east of New York City. All maintain places among the world’s top 100 golf courses, according to GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest.
Doak, club principals and a few special guests had the opportunity to test-drive Tara Iti during an April sneak preview event (the opening is planned for 1 October 2015).
“Once a golf course routing is finished, we start building holes in some sort of sequence that makes sense for construction purposes, and we pretty much never walk the course in order from 1 to 18 until it’s ready to open,” Doak said. “So, what I appreciated most about Tara Iti during this recent visit was the pacing and rhythm of it. What also struck me is how much it plays like a links — and how fun that is. You can’t take your eye off the ball until it stops rolling, and C.J. [Kreuscher, the course superintendent] has the playing surface so tight, the ball is still rolling long after you think it might stop.
“I played in April with everyone from a tour pro [Daniel Chopra] to 18-handicaps, and they all had smiles on their faces the whole time. And I couldn’t help but smile myself when someone would compare the place to Royal Dornoch or Cypress Point.”
Because of his track record working in the links environment, Doak was the only course architect considered for Tara Iti, according to Legacy partner Jim Rohrstaff. “It’s been instructive to see his team at work,” Rohrstaff said. “They work deliberately, not so much designing golf holes so much as identifying them in the existing landscape. This minimalism, this assuredness in the links discipline, has proved a perfect fit for our overall approach at Te Arai.
The intrusion of homes will be very limited.
“This low-density approach is the land-planning handiwork of John Darby at Queenstown-based Darby Partners,” said Pleciak. “Clearly, the limited number of homes here, on such a huge property, further underlines our commitment to the natural environment at Te Arai. In creating these home sites — virtually all of which are elevated (and north-facing, to maximize aspect and sunshine) — we’ve managed to balance this preservational ethos with the privacy of each homeowner. The result, in our opinion, is a truly special, seaside community that honestly doesn’t exist anywhere so convenient to Auckland.”
“Of the 11 home sites that border on the golf course, 9 are already spoken for — but we will have 35 beautiful beach-front home sites sitting on 5 kilometers of Pacific Ocean. It’s difficult to see these sites and not be reminded of the Hamptons.”
Currently the only finished structure on site at Te Arai is the clubhouse at Tara Iti.
The 46 individual home sites offered will be spread across 600 hectares of freehold land. Buyers may acquire home sites or completed residences — all boast access to the community’s 5.5 kilometers of Pacific Ocean frontage.
For more information visit the Legacy Partners website