The best in the world? The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand, home to one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world and a highly regarded lodge, now has that title. The International Association of Golf Tour Operators named the place the Golf Resort of the Year this past winter.
Golf Resort of the Year honours are split among three regional categories: North America, Europe and the Rest of the World. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers was honoured in the Rest of the World category.
Established in 2000 by global golf tourism organization IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), the IAGTO Awards are the official annual decorations bestowed by the golf tourism industry. IAGTO’s 500-plus golf tour operators from 62 different countries cast their votes this year. Each operator was asked to nominate the best performing golf resorts enjoyed this year by their golf travelling clients. Operators were asked to consider the following criteria: Customer Satisfaction, Quality of Golf Course & Accommodation, Value for Money, Accessibility to Tee Times, Speed of Communication and Quality of Service.
“The IAGTO Awards have particular meaning within the golf community because golf tour operators do the voting,” said Ryan Brandeburg, director of golf at Cape Kidnappers GC, a 2004 Tom Doak design ranked, in September, number 38 on GOLF Magazine’s World Top 100.
“Golf tour operators are in the business of providing their clients the best possible golf travel experiences. If they don’t, those clients don’t come back for the next trip. This award, as voted by IAGTO members, according to these key criteria, means that Cape Kidnappers has made just the sort of impression we would like — on golfers themselves and our golf tour operator partners. We’re thrilled to be so recognized.”
The 14th annual IAGTO Awards ceremony, honouring Cape Kidnappers and all 2014 winners, took place at the historic Tarragona Placa De Toros in Costa Daurada, Spain, on 14 November 2013, the final night of the International Golf Travel Mart.
Brandeburg added that he and his staff are particularly pleased to be honoured in the Golf Resort of the Year category, because, he said, only a handful of resorts on Earth offer such high-calibre golf, complemented by such exquisite, on-site accommodations.
Located on New Zealand’s North Island, astride its dramatic eastern coast, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offers just such a resort experience. The golf course ranks number 6 on Golf Digest’s list of Top 100 Courses Located Outside the U.S. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers – opened on this triangular, eponymous headland in 2006 — was named to Travel+Leisure’s World’s Top 50 Hotels in 2010. Not to be outdone, Condé Nast Traveler named the property to its Gold List for 2012 and 2013.
For the record, Cape Kidnappers has a sister property on the North Island of New Zealand — The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, in Bay of Islands — that is no less decorated by the world travel and golfing press. Kauri Cliffs GC is a fixture on everyone’s Top 100 list (GOLF Magazine currently ranks it number 74 in the world). In August, the veranda-wrapped Lodge at Kauri Cliffs was named the number 1 hotel in the world according to Business Insider, which reached this decision by aggregating current world hotel rankings from the industry’s most respected sources: Travel+Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, TripAdvisor.com and Fodor’s. Just this month, Kauri Cliffs received a near-perfect score of 99.2 out of 100 in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards detailing the Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World.
“Sometimes we hesitate to fixate on all these awards, because both of these sprawling properties would be worth visiting for the setting alone,” Brandeburg said. “These are essentially 2,500-hectare nature preserves that sit atop cliffs overlooking the South Pacific. Pictures don’t do either of them justice. You’ve seen Lord of the Rings, right? It’s like that — only with off-the-charts golf, accommodations and cuisine.”